Fractional Clotheslines

Allowing students the opportunity to DO math first and THEN teach it, is probably one of the most powerful “ah-ha’s” there is in teaching. For the past 3 weeks our 3rd-5th graders have been installing fractional clotheslines in their classrooms and sorting out their laundry of fractions onto the line. They have discovered that only proper fractions live in the neighborhood of 0 to 1. They also have acquired the skills of equivalent fractions without their teachers ever having to teach it first. Given the opportunity, our students can learn more about math through inquiry! Teachers can provide the opportunities and students will construct their own learning. To re-create in your classroom, just attach a clothesline in your room. Write the numbers 0-3 onto index cards and attach to the clothesline with clothespins or paperclips. Give each student a fraction to write on their own index card and then let the magic begin. Ask them to hang their fraction laundry on the line with a clothespin. Listen in to their discussions…let them make mistakes and correct each other’s work.

Now for the technology connection….have students re-create their classroom clotheslines on Glogster.Edu. They can upload photos, videos, interviews, and more! Several of my classrooms created their Glogsters and then shared on skyped with their new buddies in Thailand.

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