# Teaching Multiplication of Fractions for 6th Graders

Teaching the concept of multiplying fractions is a major component of introducing higher level mathematics. Pre-algebra, geometry and even trigonometry all build upon the implicit knowledge that comes from multiplying fractions. Effectively teaching such a concept at the sixth grade level is important to a student's future success in other mathematical concepts. There are several creative ways that educators can approach teaching the multiplications of fractions to sixth grade students.

## Pizza Anyone?

Anyone who understands kids knows that their love for pizza is generally universal. The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill provides an excellent lesson plan using paper pizzas that introduces fractions to third grade students. You can creatively up the ante with sixth graders learning to multiply fractions by bringing real pizza into the classroom for students to eat as a part of their lesson. Create step by step guidelines for eating fractional portions of the pizza. At the end of each step, issue fraction multiplication word problems that require students to calculate how much pizza has been eaten.

## Recipes for Success

If you want to bake your favorite cake for the twenty people in your class but your recipe only feeds four, what should you do? The Oregon Focus on Math suggests allowing students to bring in their favorite recipes and working through this very question when teaching students how to multiply fractions. Have students work through scenarios that prompt them to calculate the portions of ingredients that will be needed if their recipes are doubled, tripled or even quadrupled. This will allow students to experience the multiplication of fractions as a real world application.

## Manipulate to Multiply

According to Scholastic, manipulatives are multi-dimensional instructional tools that can be used to bring mathematics to life. Teaching sixth graders to multiply fractions using manipulatives gives students the opportunity make the abstract idea of multiplying fractions concrete. In their Mathematics Enhanced Scope and Sequence for Grade 6, The Virginia Department of Education identifies using manipulatives as the method by which teachers can achieve the sixth grade learning outcome of having students create physical representations of the multiplication of fractions.

## Stay on The Grid

Graph paper is a tool that can be used not only to teach geometric concepts, but the multiplication of fractions.To keep students engaged, substituting plain graph paper for a digital version of the tool can enhance students learning of the concept of the fraction multiplication. The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives hosted by Utah State University presents a virtual grid sheet that allows teachers and students to view and practice fraction multiplication online. Utilizing technology in teaching students this concept can help learners become active participants in their own instruction.

References

- Learn NC K–12 TEACHING AND LEARNING · FROM THE UNC SCHOOL OF EDUCATION: PIZZA = "Fractions: Any Way You Slice It!"
- Rice University School Mathematics Project 2008 Presentation by Cynthia Lanius: Who Wants Pizza? - Part 5
- SMC Curriculum: Oregon Focus On Math
- www.scholastic.com: Math Manipulatives
- Virginia Department of Education: Mathematics Enhanced Scope and Sequence – Grade 6
- National Library of Virtual Manipulatives: Multiplication of Fractions

Resources

Writer Bio

Based in Houston, C.P. Brown is a writer with experience in children's fiction, poetry, the arts and education. Her work has appeared in the "Houston Chronicle" and various poetry publications. Brown is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes fine arts and a former charter school administrator. She holds a Master of Education from Harvard University.