Build a Plan to Support Student Understanding of Fractions Using Fair-Sharing

Educator creates a fractions lesson plan that is based in the context of fair sharing and is informed by student thinking obtained through student interviews.
Made by Friday Institute @ NC State
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator creates a fractions lesson plan that anticipates multiple student strategies and possible misconceptions. The lesson is based in the context of fair sharing and shows evidence of questioning designed to elicit student thinking.

Method Components

How do I develop a fractions lesson plan using a fair-sharing context, applying what I learned in the student interview?

A fractions lesson plan that applies what you have learned in a student interview can be on any lesson-planning template as needed to meet local requirements. All plans should include the objectives for the lesson and be based in the context of fair sharing, focusing on a fractions concept.

Components of what you learned in the student interview might include:

  • revised student prompt(s)
  • anticipated student strategies
  • possible student conceptions, considering the following:
    • anticipated prior knowledge
    • anticipated challenges
    • anticipated understandings
  • planned questioning to elicit and/or develop student thinking

Example of possible components for a lesson focusing on building an understanding of the whole:

The prompt is open-ended and does not specifically define the whole, and also offers a visual, but does not require students to use a specific starting strategy:

“Ms. Brown brought small, rectangular cakes to her classroom for an activity for her students. She put her students into groups of three and gave each group two identical rectangular cakes to share equally among the students in the group. How much cake did each student get?”

(See downloadable PDF for images)

Anticipated challenges and/or understandings:

  • Students may count pieces, not understanding the difference between how much and how many (or leave leftovers).
  • Students may answer 13 of the two cakes, understanding that any three sharers will get 13 as a fair share, but not be able to understand why 23 of one cake is also an appropriate answer (or other equivalent answers based on defining a different whole).
  • Students may correctly partition the full cake and allocate a fair share, but not be able to name the share as one number.
  • Students may correctly partition the full cake visually but not be able to articulate a numeric response.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Carpenter, Thomas, Fennell, Francis, Geary, David, Lewis, James, Okamoto, Yukari, Siegler, Robert, Thompson, Laurie, Wray, Jonathan. “Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten through 8th Grade. IES Practice Guide. NCEE 2010-4039”. What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, September 2010,


  • Mathematics Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities or Difficulty Learning Mathematics
  • Based on a meta-analysis of teaching mathematics to students with learning disabilities, this report offers seven research-based instructional practices that have been shown to be effective with this group of learners. Each of the seven recommendations is explained, shown in practice, and offers a summary of its supporting evidence. Instruction LD Guide for Teachers.pdf

  • Listening to Student Thinking in the Context of Fair Sharing
  • This video is of a small group of students working with a teacher. Melanie is a grade 5 student, Matt is a grade 6 student, and Kyle is a grade 7 student. The video demonstrates recommended teacher practices when listening to student thinking with a small group and working in the context of fair sharing with older students. 00:00-01:32 Introduction; 01:33-02:36 Problem Setup; 02:37-12:06; Individual Student Solutions and Explanations; 12:07-17:22 Group Discussion.

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a “Yes” for Parts 1, 2, and 3. Through any of a variety of methods (written, scanned, audio, video, and/or multimedia), you must demonstrate an ability to describe and implement a fair sharing lesson that supports student understanding of fractions. You must also reflect upon the effectiveness of your strategy and how this experience will influence future instruction using fair sharing.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

Please provide context for your plan by answering the following:

  • Describe important contextual factors in your classroom that influence your lesson planning for fractions instruction.
  • How did your student interview inform the lesson you are presenting here?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please provide a lesson plan that you designed that was informed by a student interview and includes a prompt based in the context of fair sharing.

(Your artifact submission will be assessed based on the following rubric. You must earn a “Yes” score on this portion of the total submission in order to earn the micro-credential.)

Part 3. Reflection

How did the student strategies and conceptions from the student interview impact your lesson planning in this context and more generally?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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