Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Half of a Half

Fulton Smedley


Students develop a number line and identify common fractions using the denominators 2, 4, and 8.


The student locates whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals on a number line.


-Adding machine tape (meter length strips, one for each student)
-Markers and/or colored pencils
-Dollar bill and quarters or use the overhead with overhead money


1. Review with manipulatives (money, fraction bars, cuisinaire rods) the concept of fractions especially with denominators 2, 4, and 8.
2. Have the proper quantity of one meter strips of adding machine tape.


Note: In this lesson, students are only identifying fractions on a number line.

1. Begin by showing students a dollar bill and ask the class, -How can I divide this between two students? Four students?- Wait for responses and accept reasonable answers. Guide students toward making change consisting of quarters. Then divide the money focusing on half of the dollar. Divide the half in half again, demonstrating which students had the one-half and then the one-fourth.

2. Show the students a meter length tape and tell them that they will label the tape using the common denominators of 2, 4, and 8.

3. Ask students how many slices are in a pizza? Draw a pizza on the board. Ask students what fraction of the pizza would each student receive if there were 8 students sharing, 4 students sharing, and 2 students sharing?

4. Using the meter length of tape, ask the students if the tape can be divided the same way as the pizza. Fold the tape in half and have the students, using fractions, identify the value of each part of the tape. Repeat the procedure again for ¼ and again for 1/8.

5. Give each student the meter length of tape. While working with partners, have the student fold the tape in half, in half again, and in half again. Students will then unfold the tape and label the tape with the correct fractional parts.

6. Have some of the students explain to the class how they decided which denominator to use for each fold in the tape.


The students’ completed number line will be used for assessment. Check for at least 80% accuracy in the identification of the fractional parts.


Students can color the number line to represent a half, a half of a half (1/4), a half of a half of a half (1/8). Students can identify equal fractions. Students can use the number line to solve simple addition problems with fractions.

Web Links

Web supplement for Half of a Half
All About Fractions

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