What are fraction strips?
Fraction strips are thin, rectangular pieces of colored paper used to teach fractions. Fraction strips can be various colors and lengths, and can be folded to show different fractional parts. Fractional parts are equal shares that makeup a whole. For example, it takes four ¼ pieces to makeup one whole.
Fraction strips are useful for identifying fractions, showing parts of a whole, and recognizing equivalent fractions. When introducing fractions, it’s best to have students make the fraction strips themselves. Have students cut construction paper into strips that are each 12 inches long. Then ask students to fold the strips into halves, thirds, fourths, and sixths. Work with students to compare the fractions on each strip. Ask students how many of each fraction have to be put together to makeup the whole.
Why should I use fraction strips?
Fraction strips are a great tool to rely on when teaching fractions. The way the strips are designed keeps the “whole” consistent for students. As students manipulate parts of the same whole, these strips allow opportunity for students to visualize and explore fractional relationships.
Fractions strips are perfect for modeling equivalent fractions. Equivalent fractions represent the same value even though they do not have the same numerators or denominators. The strips make it easy for to students to see that one-half represents the same value as two-fourths, three-sixths, and five-tenths.
Students will develop a deeper understanding of fractions when fractions are shown in a variety of ways and when personal connections are made. Fraction strips facilitate that connection as they can easily represent real-life scenarios such as equally sharing a candy bar or dividing a footlong sub into equal pieces.