Fractional Parts of a Set Activities

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

If you're teaching your students about fractions, use these activities to help students understand how to find fractional parts of a set when working with concrete objects and numbers.

Fractional Parts of a Set

You have a class of 30 students, and 1/6 of them like to work with fractions. How many of your students like to work with fractions? If you said five, then you're right.

Teaching students how to solve problems involving fractional parts of a set is important. When students master this skill, it can help them with proportional reasoning and analyzing data. By using real-world applications, students can also realize how this skill can be transferred to their post-secondary lives.

Let's look at some activities that can help students explore fractional parts of a set using concrete objects and numbers.

Fractional Parts Diner


  • Fruit (apples, oranges, bananas, etc.)
  • Bowl
  • Plastic forks
  • Drinking straws
  • Plastic cups
  • Tray
  • Dry-erase boards
  • Dry-erase markers

Teacher Directions

  • Show the students a bowl of different fruit, such as apples, oranges, and bananas. Tell the students how many total pieces are in the bowl.
  • Guide the students through the steps to find the amount of each fruit in the bowl using information about the fractional part of the set. For example, if there were 10 pieces of fruits in the bowl, you could tell the students that 2/5 of the fruit are apples and walk them through the process to figure out that there are 4 apples in the bowl.
  • Confirm each calculation by checking for the correct quantity of each fruit in the bowl.
  • Divide the class into small groups.
  • Give each group a tray with a collection of plastic forks, drinking straws, and plastic cups. Additionally, give each group a dry-erase board and dry-erase markers.
  • Inform the groups that they will pretend to be waiters or waitresses at a restaurant. They will be using fractional parts of a set to help them figure out how many diners in their restaurant need certain items.
    • Provide the groups with various scenarios, involving fractional parts of a set, to find out how many forks, straws, or cups they have to bring out to the diners in their section of the restaurant. For each problem, be sure to tell the teams how many total diners are in their section.
    • An example scenario might be: ''There are 20 diners in your section, and 4/5 of them need forks. How many forks do you need to bring out?''
    • Once the students have figured out the answer on their dry-erase boards, their team should put the correct number of forks, straws, or cups on their tray.
    • Teams that get the right answer will receive five points.
    • The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Discussion Questions

  • What was difficult about this task? How did your group work through each scenario?
  • What are some other real life situations where you may have to figure out quantities based on knowing how to find the fractional part of a set?

Draw the Party


  • Party balloons in various colors
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • List of directions for drawing the party
  • Correctly drawn party picture

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