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Equal Shares as a Foundation to Fractions

Teaching fractions can be eye-opening.

It’s no secret that many students don’t understand fractions. They can’t make sense of the idea that a fraction is typically smaller than one whole.

Looking at written fractions, it’s no wonder – they’re scary looking to our students.

I was also quite surprised to learn that several of my struggling students couldn’t divide a group of manipulatives or pictures into equal shares or even find half of a given number of objects.

Whoa, Nelly!  Back up the wagons!  Time to start fresh!  I needed some new ideas to help my students make a connection to fractions.

That’s when I created the Fractions and Equal Shares set. It’s a foundational unit to pre-teach and boost students’ understanding of fractions.

It starts with the very basics. Before students can find half of a group of objects, they need to understand what the words “equal,” “fair share,” and “equivalent” mean. You might define those words in general terms of being the same – same-sized groups, same-sized pieces, etc.

You can practice splitting erasers, jellybeans, cereal, and you-name-it, into equal shares, starting with groups of 2, then 3, then 4.



This set features a variety of hands-on style worksheets.

Students will split jellybeans and cupcakes into equal groups and then color them.  Other pages ask students to cut out fish and beetle bugs, color them, split them into equal groups, and then glue them on fishbowls and jars.

They’re both fun and engaging. Creative students really enjoy these, and strugglers often do better when they have movement and time to process.

Allow your students some struggle time before swooping in to “save the day.”  These pages allow you to layer just the right amount of scaffolding for students. Use only the pages your students need. Although they’re so engaging, students will want to keep working.

After your students have a foundation of equal parts and fair shares, they’ll move into fractions, like finding 1/2 of a group. Fraction posters for 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 are included in the set as reference tools.


Equivalent fractions are next in the set.

Students will evaluate given fractions by creating their own model representations.  They can get creative here if they want – you can hang work like this up in the classroom and consider keeping work samples for parent-teacher meetings and conferences.  Parents love seeing concrete work samples, and kids like to show off their skills to their parents.

Fraction rods are featured, along with a page for students to divide their own rods and make their own fractions.  Finally, we get to fraction circles – these are tough for learners!  These pages will walk you through.

Ready for more challenging fractions?

Equivalent Fractions on a Number Line

Fractions Practice with Models – 4th Grade Differentiated

Adding Fractions and Subtracting Fractions and Mixed Numbers Bundle 5th Grade Differentiated