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Fractured Fractions

Kid MathWhat you'll need:
Clear container, masking tape, marker, measuring cups ( 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4 cup measure), uncooked rice or popcorn kernels, and water

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What to do:

  1. Have your child stick a piece of masking tape straight up one side of the clear container from the bottom to the top.
  2. For younger children, use a 1/2 cup measure. For older children, use a 1/3 or 1/4 cup measure. Choose the unit of measure and fill the measuring cup. Then let your child pour the substance from the measuring cup into the clear container. Continue to pour the same amount of the substance into the container.
  3. As each equal amount of the substance is poured, mark the level on the container by drawing a line on the tape. Write the cup size or appropriate fraction on each line. The fraction for one-third cup would be 1/3.
  4. Follow this procedure until the container is full and the tape is marked in increments to the top of the container.
  5. Fill the container again and again using different measures each time. Ask your child "thinking" questions.
    • How many whole cups do you think this container will hold? How many 1/2 cups, 1/3 cups, or 1/4 cups do you think the container will hold?
    • How many 1/2 cups equal a cup?
    • How many 1/4 cups equal 1/2 cup? A cup?
    • How many 1/4 cups equal 3/4 cup?

Parent tip:
This hands-on activity explores whole numbers and fractions by using measurements your children can see. Your children also will learn to guess or estimate quantities.

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