Mixed Numbers Activities for Elementary School

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Do your students need to learn a fun way to study mixed numbers? Check out this lesson for engaging activities that keep your students actively involved while deepening their knowledge of mixed numbers.

Mixed Numbers

Fractions can be a difficult concept for students to comprehend, especially when you start adding in mixed numbers and improper fractions. They just don't look right! When students use hands-on activities, they gain a deeper understanding of fractions. Now, let's jump in to see what activities you can use.

Pattern Block Pictures

I(n this activity, students get to create their own pictures using pattern blocks to help them visualize and identify what mixed numbers look like.

Materials:

  • Pattern blocks
  • Large drawing sheet or construction paper
  • Pencils
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils
  • Prepared directions that explain which mixed numbers to use in the picture

Procedure:

  • Students will work individually or with a partner.
  • Explain to students that they get to create a picture with pattern blocks while also showing mixed numbers. They could create an entire scene (like summer), a specific object/animal (skateboard, owl), or any other picture.
  • Discuss and review some mixed numbers with pattern blocks. Remind students the hexagon is the whole. To show 2 1/2 with pattern blocks, you'd use 5 trapezoids.
  • Provide students with instructions on exactly what mixed numbers should be shown in their drawings. Students need to either label each mixed number on the picture or write a brief description of which part of the drawing shows each mixed number. Written example: 2 1/2 was shown in each of the owl's eyes and eyebrows.
  • Allow students time to arrange their pattern blocks into a picture. Students may trace the pattern blocks to help create their picture instead of trying to draw their own shapes.
    • You may even want to give students a hint to create the mixed numbers first and then see how they want to arrange them in a picture.
    • Also, students may add other pattern blocks that aren't a mixed number as part of their picture.
  • Students may share their creations with the class and/or hang them up for display.

'Egg'cellent Match!

In this activity, students get to put eggs back together by matching mixed numbers to the correct picture.

Materials:

  • Dozens of plastic eggs
  • Bags or baskets for students to collect eggs in
  • Prepare the eggs:
    • Each egg top should have a picture on it representing a mixed number (use circles or squares to keep the drawings simple). Example: to represent 2 1/2, the picture should be two full circles and one half of another circle.
    • Each egg bottom should have the mixed number written. Example: 2 1/2

Procedure:

You could choose to complete this activity a few different ways:

Egg Hunt

  • Students may work individually or with a partner.
  • Teacher will use prepared eggs, take them all apart, and scatter them throughout the area (indoors or outdoors).
  • Students will have to go on an egg hunt to search for eggs that match!
  • At the end of the egg hunt, see who found the most eggs. Also, do a quick check to make sure students are correct in the matches they found.

All Mixed Up!

  • Students may work individually or with a partner.
  • Teacher will use prepared eggs and switch all tops and bottoms. You don't want any of the tops to match the bottoms! They are all mixed up.
  • Students must help the teacher fix this mess by finding all of the correct matches. You may scatter eggs everywhere if you want, or the eggs could just be in a few large piles.
  • Students will take apart the eggs and put the correct matches together.
  • At the end, review to make sure students have the correct matches.

Optional:

  • You could practice mixed numbers and improper fractions by writing the mixed number on the top of the egg and the matching improper fraction on the bottom of the egg.

I Have…Who Has?

This game requires listening skills and is a great way to review mixed numbers and improper fractions. The whole class gets to participate in a game that requires attention, great timing, and knowledge!

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