This activity is geared more for 3rd or 4th graders, but also can help any age. Please reply to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any further comments or questions.
A Great Way to Explain Fractions
When you are first begining to teach fractions, I would reccommend to begin with addition which is possibly the most simple. Explain that fractions are parts of whole numbers. Tell your class the following: Fractions are ways to show part of somthing, such as 1/2 could be used to show a half of an apple cut up. (Then proceed to cut an apple in half). The apple together makes 1 whole apple, but when you cut it in half, you have 2, 1/2 apples. Now cut the two parts in half again. This is 4, 1/4 sections of the apple. One section alone is a 1/4 section, then if you add another section (1/4 + 1/4 = 2/4 = 1/2) you have 2/4 that can also be shown as 1/2 because two is half of four. Then proceed to show the rest of the parts. For advanced classes, you may choose to cut the apple into even smaller sections or have the children cut the apple themselves and tell you what sections they are cutting up. This will allow the children to apply their skills.