To teach beginning fractions, use simple fractions such as 1/2 and 1/4, repeat activities and reinforce concepts as needed, remain patient, and use lots of visual aids and manipulatives. Focus on fundamental concepts such as numerators and denominators to ensure that all students thoroughly understand the basics, and continue using visuals to introduce concepts such as simplification, equivalent fractions and basic operations with fractions.
Most children already have an understanding of halves, and many already grasp the basic concept of quarters. Help students visualize these fractions using pizza pictures, or laminated pizzas that are divided in two or four sections. Use pizzas divided into fourths, sixths and eighths to demonstrate how the numerator changes based on the number of selected slices and how the denominator changes based on the total number of pieces. These manipulatives are also good ways to introduce students to the concept of comparing fractions.
Pizzas help students make real-life connections to fractions. Progress to partitioning circles, squares and rectangles to illustrate other fractions and to help teach basic operations with fractions. Students can also use Lego blocks to represent fractions and to explore equivalent fractions. Worksheets, online games, cooking activities and opportunities to share objects with classmates all help reinforce the concepts.