Are your students having trouble interpreting word problems that involve dividing whole numbers that result in a fraction? These types of problems are known as fractions as division (5th grade Common Core standard 5.NF.3). If this skill is a challenge for you, I’m here to help! Download this free template for fractions as division to help them organize their thinking!
Teaching fractions as division can be a little tricky. When it comes to word problems, I found my students would often split the wrong number in the story. For example, if the problem said, “8 friends split 3 pizzas equally, how much pizza did each friend get?”, they would say 8/3 or 2 2/3 of a pizza. First of all, if there are only 3 pizzas, it would be impossible for each friend to get almost a whole pizza.
The common misconception? They would read the word problem and create the division expression in the order in which the numbers appeared. 8 ÷ 3 = 8/3 or 2 2/3. I had to take time to really train them to read the word problem carefully and think about WHAT was being split and how many groups it was being split into. I would say, “does it make sense to split 8 friends among 3 pizzas?”
Using a Template
I find it helpful to create templates that have students go through specific steps to show their work for certain types of problems. Instead of just finding the answer for this particular skill, I think it’s important for students to first identify what is being split, then how many groups it’s being split into. From there, they can write the division expression, then turn that into a fraction. Finally, if the fraction is improper (or greater than one), they can turn it into a mixed number or simplify it if necessary.
Having a template available is a great tool for all students, but specifically those who struggle with spatial organization. I also love to use dry erase pockets for templates like this. They’re great to have available during classwork or small group practice. If you tutor or are a parent at home, these can be stored for a child to use while completing homework or extra practice.
Tips for Use
- Copy the template.
- Insert into a dry erase pocket
- Allow students to use the template in class or at home to organize their work
Looking for More Help with Teaching This Skill?
Check out my fractions as division resource pack. It has everything you need to teach this skill including detailed notes, practice, exit tickets, and a quiz.
See all options for this resource (digital, printable, and a bundle of the two).