Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fraction Popsicle Pop-ups

Stacy Durham


Students decorate and use popsicle sticks to use as manipulatives to assist with their learning of fractions.


The student translates problem situations into diagrams and models using whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers and decimals to hundredths including money notation.

The student uses concrete materials to model equivalent forms of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals.


-12 popsicle sticks per child
-Permanent markers or tempera paint
-Notebook paper
-Colored pencils
-Art paper to be used to cover the students' desks


1. Obtain twelve popsicle sticks for each student
2. Obtain enough tempera paint and paint brushes or permanent markers for each student to have two colors.
3. Obtain art paper to cover the students desks.


Day 1
1.Explain to the students that the class will make manipulatives that will be used in math lessons all year. Tell them that they need to listen carefully and not to work ahead.

2. Show an example of what the finished product should look like. There are only two colors used in the project. More than that will become confusing!

3. Students will paint or color one side of their popsicle sticks with ONE color.

4. After that side has dried, they can then flip the sticks over and paint the other side a DIFFERENT color.

5.Pass out decorating materials to each student. ( 12 popsicle sticks, markers or paint and art paper to cover the top of the students' work area.).

6. Walk around the room and make sure that the students are following directions.

Day 2 (Fractions) There are many different things that you and your class can do using these manipulatives. Here are some examples that involve fractions:

Learning fraction basics-

1. Discuss with the class the proper way to write fractions. Tell students that the part is written over the whole- numerator over denominator.
2. Write a fraction on the board and have the class model the fraction with their popsicle sticks. If you have the fraction , then they should use two sticks, and have one red side up.
3. Continue with this method several times until the class has mastered the concept.
4. Once the class has mastered this concept, decide how many sticks that you want your class to use. If you are beginning to teach the fraction concept, you may want to start out with 4 or 5 sticks.
5. Each student should also decide which of the two colors that they are going to count.
6. Have each student hold the correct number of fraction sticks about 8 inches from his or her desk. They then release the sticks, trying to keep them all on the desk.
7. They should then count the number of sticks that are face up out of their bunch. ie. If their two colors are red and blue, then they need to count the number of one color- either red OR blue.
8. Ask that the students draw an illustration of their fraction on their notebook, and then they should record the actual fraction to represent that illustration.

Day 3- (Variations to fractions)

9. Have the students work in pairs, or small groups. Turn the popsicle popups into a game. One person can drop the sticks and the others can record the outcomes as fractions. The winner can be the first one to record the correct answer.
10. Have the students drop the sticks twice and then record both drops as fractions. Then have another student add or subtract the two fractions.
11. Winner can be the one with the highest number at the end of ten drops.


Assessments can be done from any or all of the following:

Walk around the classroom, observing each student as they work. Elicit discussions with the groups on why fractions are important and how they are used in everyday life. Grade them for group participation and participation in discussions. Compare the students' written fractions with the drawings that they have made during group work.


This lesson can be extended for advanced learners by including improper fractions, reducing and mixed numbers. Groups can also add or subtract the fractions of another student.

These popsicle sticks can be used in many activities throughout the year! Fractions and probability are just two suggestions.
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