Saturday, February 7, 2009

Cognition Lesson Plan: Fun with Fractions

3rd Grade Standard 1 Objective 2 

Objective: Students will understand that the larger the denominator, the more parts the whole is being divided into.  


Sensory Memory. (hook) To get the concept of fractions into the students sensory memory, have a large cookie at the front of the room. Show that as the whole cookie. Then have examples of the cookie being broken down into all sorts of different fractions all the way down to 1/8 of a cookie. They will be able to see, taste, and smell the cookie so that it will briefly be in their sensory memory. You will be able to grab their attention because it is a cookie and most kids love anything that has to do with sugar!  

Working/Short-term Memory. Next, show each of the students what a whole looks like. For example, show them a whole piece of paper. (provide each student with a piece of paper so they can do this activity with you) Then divide it into two pieces and explain that the paper is now 2 halves. They have divided the paper in half. Continue to do this process until you have gotten to 1/8 of a sheet of paper. This is just to introduce the activity and get the idea into their working memory. They will have seen the each of the fractions, but chances are that it won’t stay in their memory for long. (This is an example of mass practice because they are practicing the concepts all at once) 

Long Term Memory. To get the information in the children’s long term memory the teacher will have the students do one last activity. For this activity you will use the loci method. Take the children outside. Also, take a white board and marker outside so you can show them each fraction. Have the children split into halves. Make sure that each group is far enough away from each other so it is obvious. Next, have them split again into fourths. Continue doing this until you get to eighths. You can explain that every time the class is split they are going to have a larger number on the bottom and each part is smaller. Doing this will help the children remember the location they were at so that they can think back to it and remember what they did. The students have also used elaborationbecause they have performed the task themselves, and they have seen three different examples.  

Decay and Interference. To avoid interference and decay, be sure to review what the children have learned each day. The information is in their long term memory, but they will need to review and keep it active so that they will be able to retrieve what they have learned. 

Procedural Knowledge: The students have acquired procedural knowledge because they have performed tasks on their own that have to do with fractions. (The assessment for this lesson would be observing each of the children as they perform the task outside to make sure they understand the concept) 

Link to original lesson plan click here

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a tasty lesson. A couple of comments: First, I am unsure of how your method is the loci method. I see you taking them outside, but what are they associating with different locations and how does that help them understand scale in denominators?
    Second, help me better understand how students will use elaboration in this example.
    Finally, putting Ed Psych aside, I used to aide El Ed teachers to use hands-on approaches to teaching math. Circles are very tricky for doing fractions b/c teachers often do not split the pieces evenly, which contradicts the definition of fractions. I would recommend using brownies or something you could cut into apparently more even shapes. Or, get yourself a box of fraction circles. Just my 2 cents.