Classroom transformations are most beneficial when they target rigorous content. Teaching fractions is always the most challenging topic for my third graders to understand. However, It also happens to be my favorite unit to teach! Here’s a glimpse into a fun, fraction-filled day in our classroom.
I decided to do a fraction classroom transformation to wrap up our fraction unit and review the third grade fraction standards right before our unit assessment. The goal was to make fractions a fun and hands-on experience for my third graders. It was definitely a day my students will never forget!
Of course I had to bring the ‘Sweet Tooth’ side of me to life with this transformation. I’m talking all things ICE CREAM.
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What is a classroom transformation?
When implementing a classroom transformation, I try to create a space that’s new and exciting for students! They walk into the classroom and are immedietly surprised by the themed elements around the room. It’s an instant engagement strategy that gets students pumped up about learning! You’ll hear all the buzzing–“What’s activity does Mrs.Aguilu have in the works today?!”
How I set up our fraction classroom transformation
Here’s what I used to create our Fraction Ice Cream Day Classroom Transformation:
Materials & Props used:
NOTE: I used a lot of ice cream themed props I bought at Target over the summer.
Classroom Walls: I covered the walls with butcher paper. The giant ice cream cones were also made out of butcher paper.
Fraction Math Center Set up:
First, I set up the activities as if we were doing math centers– creating five centers around the classroom. Each center consisted of a different activity to reinforce the fraction standards we had already learned. I used confetti tablecloths to decorate each station and added a diner hat for each student at the tables.
Then, I divided the students into 5 groups. This way, each group started at a different math center. They were given about 15-20 minutes to complete each activity. Once the time was up, they cleaned up their center and rotated to the next one.
Station Recording Sheets: I created a booklet for each student with all of the recording sheets for each station stapled together. This was such a great way to help my students stay organized throughout each transition without losing any of the recording sheets.
Here is a breakdown of the 3rd grade fraction math centers we used throughout the day.
Math Center #1- Build your own Fraction Ice Cream
This hands-on activity is designed to review fractions of a whole. Students practiced using the terms ‘numerator’ and ‘denominator’ when creating fractions.
This math center was a hit! The students wore ice cream themed aprons that I found at Target over the summer and made their own ice cream sundaes. They picked a fraction task card from a pile and used the ingredient pieces to build their ice cream.
The denominator in each fraction represents the number of scoops. For example, if the task card calls for 2/3 chocolate fudge, the students placed fudge on 2 out of the 3 ice cream scoops.
Once the students had created a recipe, they showed their partner their ice cream sundae. Without looking at the recipe card, their partner had to identify each fraction of ingredients.
For example: “Your sundae has 1/3 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 2/3 strawberry ice cream, and 3/3 sprinkles.”
Math Center #2: Comparing Fractions
In this center, students practiced comparing fractions. They looked at the comparison symbols <,>, and = to determine whether the fraction comparisons were true or false. Students worked with equivalent fractions, fractions with the same denominator, and fractions with different denominators.
Students picked a fraction comparison task card and used their strategies to decide if the fraction comparison was true or not. They sorted the cards into the correct cup. If the comparison was false, they rewrote the fractions using the correct symbol.
They were then able to scan the QR codes on each card to check their answer.
Math Center #3: Fraction board game
This center was designed to review all of the 3rd grade fraction skills we had learned throughout the previous weeks. Students were exposed to questions about parts of a whole, parts of a group, and comparing fractions to move across the game board.
I used this station as a guided math center. Since the questions on the task cards were aligned with their test, I really wanted to make sure they understood each concept.
This was a great way to monitor student learning and see which areas my students were still struggling with.
Math Center #4: Fraction Face-Off Game
Students compared fractions with different numerators and denominators. They practiced using the <,>, and = symbols when comparing two fractions.
This one was also a class favorite. (Anything involving competition is always a favorite.)
Each team flipped a card over at the same time. Then, the students determined which team had the larger fraction. The team with the larger fraction kept both cards. At the end of the game, the team with the most cards was the winning team.
Math Center #5: Fractions on a Number Line
At this center, students practiced identifying fractions on a number line. They used the little ice cream cone pieces to move or ‘jump’ across the number line to help them better understand the fractions.
Students picked a card from the pile and located the dot on the number line. They recorded the fraction to match each line. This hands-on activity helped students understand that each section on the line represented a part of a whole.
Ice Cream Day was definitely one in the books! Of course, we had to wrap up the day by making some REAL ice cream sundaes at the end of the day.
Want to try out fraction ice cream day in your class? You can grab the FREE Frosty’s Lab mat to help your kiddos model fractions. If you would like to host your very own fraction classroom transformation or check out the other activities inside the pack, click HERE!
Free Fraction Mat
This activity is designed to help students represent parts of a whole. Students will roll the dice. The larger number will represent the denominator and the smaller number will represent the numerator. Students can use small confetti pieces to model the fraction.