Hi! I’m Shana from Scaffolded Math and Science. It is very exciting to be writing this guest post today, especially being asked specifically by Gina Wilson from All Things Algebra to write about my fraction math pennants for the KidCourses Blog! To me, student confidence is everything. When students see their best work displayed, it builds so much confidence that carries them through the tougher days. With math pennants, students get to see their work displayed and teachers get a cute bulletin board all at the same time. They’re a win-win!
In this post I’ll highlight the fraction pennants that are all included in this fractions pennant bundle. Fractions are so tricky for kids, even well into high school. Even adults can find them confusing. For fractions to really stick, students need a lot of practice working with them, but worksheets can get so boring. I love math pennants because they keep students engaged, working together and excited to be practicing. This first one is a pennant for comparing fraction sizes:
Students need to figure out which of the two fractions is bigger, write the correct inequality sign and show each of the two fractions by coloring in portions of two circles. Here is a closeup:
Teacher Ms. Bolin sent me this photo of her comparing fraction size pennant activity being used to decorate her classroom door:
And this photo was sent to me by teacher Ms. Deculus of her students’ completed pennants being used as cute, math-themed classroom decor.
This next pennant for converting mixed numbers and improper fractions has 2 versions. This holiday-themed one came first:
After a few requests to make a year-round version, I created one that didn’t have the ornaments, candles and presents!
Here you can see a side-by-side of pennant #13 in both versions to see how they differ. The candles became circles and the holiday lights became stars and a balloon:
When students get a little older, they are asked to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions. We’re currently in a rational functions unit in my inclusion Algebra 2 class where students are required to add fractions with variables. Believe it or not, the variables make this process easier! We always start the unit adding fractions without variables, and our high school juniors can still have trouble. Finding a common denominator is the culprit! What’s great about this adding fractions pennant is that students get the extra practice they need without it feeling like practice, and they can reference the examples hanging in their classroom throughout the year.
Here is a closeup:
There is also a set of pennants for subtraction:
It wasn’t until graduate school that I really learned what it meant to multiply fractions – and how to show fraction multiplication with pictures. These days, students in 5th grade are asked to show fraction multiplication with the area model. This pennant is set up for students to color rows and columns to show each fraction, then to record the overlap as the final product:
In Algebra 2, most of our students remembered the phrase “keep, change, flip” for dividing fractions. Showing it through pictures is a little tougher! This pennant gives a rectangle’s fractional area and side, then asks students to find the rectangle’s other side.
I love reading about the ways teachers are using math pennants and seeing photos of their students’ creations. Some of the ways teachers are using math pennants with their students are as warm ups, centers, team building activities, and exit tickets. You can find all of the fractions pennants in this post in this fractions pennant bundle.
Shana McKay has been a Massachusetts public school math teacher since 2004. Teaching math to kids who are afraid of math is her passion, and every one of her lessons and activities is specially designed for students who struggle with self confidence. Shana has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, a graduate degree in Mathematics for Teaching and is certified to teach math, biology and students with moderate disabilities. She blogs at scaffoldedmath.com.