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Tasty fractions

I heard about this JUMP program through work at IBM and figured I might as well give something back to the community and so I ended up at an elementary school this morning, ready to teach grade 2s about basic fractions math, and how to count and perform basic arithmetic of need be.

Walking through the halls, I couldn’t help but notice all the projects displayed outside the classrooms: collages, construction-paper cutouts, box and toiletpaper roll builings, fingerpainted abstracts, etc. It brought back a lot of memories of my years at Pleasant Park. For a brief moment, I really missed having an age I could count using my fingers. ok ok, I know my current age can be counted with my fingers too using binary but you get the point 😛

But back to the classroom; I know you want those tasty fractions. Today’s activity was a worksheet that each student had to complete. Each student was given 16 smarties randomly, that’s right; smarties! These lucky children get to eat their mathematics afterwards!!! I don’t remember doing anything so cool when I was in grade 2, nor so tasty! Ok I lie; we made this gingerbread house in grade 4 and that was really yummy! 😀

So, they were given 16 smarties randomly and had to make a colour frequency table, a bar graph and a pie chart representing the colour distribution. As simple as it may seem, there were a few that needed a bit of guidance in how to complete the steps. Everyone more or less understood how to count the smarties, but when it came to the bar graph, there was some confusion as to how high to make the range. Yes, the graph was dynamic in that the maximum was supposed to be the largest colour frequency. And then the real stumper – the pie chart was drawn in 8 sections when there were 16 smarties in total. How to represent frequencies that were not an even number?

I suppose class dynamics don’t change that much with age; there were a few students just interested in trying or somewhat embarrassed at not following the lesson, the majority plodding along and finishing with correct results, and then this one kid who finished his sheet in 5 mins and twiddled his thumbs for the rest of the hour. He said he was good at math and I smiled.

I’ve decided that I love teaching, but as a career I don’t think I could handle young kids. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company of children, but to deal with short attention spans and silliness every day, that would be a bit much on my patience. High school, I could definitely do. Yeah.