Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Colorful Solutions

Sharla Shults
Bay District Schools


Fractions? Who needs them? Students complete a coloring activity and practice where like fractions are actually used in real-life situations. Problem solving involves using fractions with common denominators utilizing Think, Solve, and Explain format.


Understands concrete and symbolic representations of real and complex numbers in real-world situations.


-3 x 5 index cards – one per student
-Crayons or colored pencils
-Coloring activity sheets – one per student (See Associated File.)
-Overhead projector
-Overhead pens
-Copy of transparencies (See Associated File.)
-Using Fractions handouts – one per student (See Associated File.)
-Copy of sample problem and rubric - one per student (See Associated file.)


1. Prepare transparencies to be used in class. (See Associated File.)
2. Have index cards ready to distribute - one per student.
3. Duplicate coloring activity sheets – one per student. (See Associated File.)
4. Duplicate Using Fractions handouts– one per student. (See Associated File.)
5. Duplicate sample problem and rubric – one per student. (See Associated File.)


This activity addresses adding and subtracting fractions (rational numbers) of like denominators in real-world situations.

Prior Knowledge: Students should already know how to reduce simple fractions to lowest terms.

1. As a warm-up activity, give each student a 3 x 5 index card. Have them put their names on the back of the cards. Ask the question “Where do you encounter fractions at school, other than in a math classroom?”

2. Instruct students to list one place they encounter fractions on a daily basis during the school day.

3. Tell students to trade cards with someone near them. If there is something written on the card different from their own response, have students add the response to their own card.

4. Return cards to the owners.

5. Discuss different student responses. Instruct students to add to their card throughout the discussion.

6. Repeat the process, asking the question “Where do you see fractions at home, other than math homework?”

7. Repeat the process again, asking the question “Where do you see fractions in the workplace?” This could be his, or her, own job, or the job of a parent, relative, or friend.

8. Throughout the discussion, the teacher should walk among the class members and make sure each student is adding to his or her card after each question. At the end of the activity, the students keep the cards for future reference.

9. Discuss with students that fractions take on many forms daily. Reinforce to students that the main focus of this lesson is to work with fractions of like denominators, recognizing where they are used in real life, and concentrating on the Think, Solve, Explain format of problem solving. This is a good place to refer to FCAT testing and its requirements.

10. Go over the following vocabulary terms that will be included in the required problem solving: numerator, denominator, whole, sum, total, more than, difference, remainder, less, and less than.

11. Distribute the coloring activity sheets, one per student. Tell the students to read very carefully for the simplest problem can be missed if it is read wrong!

12. When all have finished, discuss the answers and encourage students to take notes of anything missed. Teacher should check these as a completed class assignment and allow students to keep their own papers.

13. Use the transparency and discuss basic steps to adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator.

14. Use the next transparencies and go over the two examples of problem solving with like fractions explaining the Think, Solve, Explain method. (See Associated File.) Tell students to read very carefully! Sometimes the wording can be very tricky.

15. Share with students the checklist that you will be using to check their progress. Students need to know up front what is expected by the end of the class period.

16. Distribute handouts of problem solving exercises for students to work in class. (See Associated File.)

17. Monitor students’ work very closely and lend assistance when needed. Allow the students to ask each other questions as they are working.

18. Before the end of the class period, give students one problem to complete using the Think, Solve, Explain format. Allow approximately 10-15 minutes for students to complete this task. It should not take very long if students have listened carefully to the teacher instructions. Collect papers and use the rubric in the associated file to check student progress. A sample problem is included in the associated file, but this can be altered to met individual teacher/student needs.

19. Distribute Using Fractions 2 handout for students to complete for homework. This will give students additional practice.


This assessment aligns only with the part of the standard dealing with fraction representation in real-world situations.

1. First, assess students’ work on the handouts, Using Like Fractions and Working with Like Fractions, using the answer keys in the associated file. This provides practice and reinforcement to insure understanding.

2. Second, assess students’ work on the handout, Assessing What You Have Learned, using the rubric in the associated file. Students who consistently score a 1 on the rubric in more than one area need reteaching. Careful reading is essential to insure the correct response to the question asked. Students must respond in Think, Solve, & Explain format.


This lesson can also be used at the middle school level. The following benchmarks are addressed emphasizing work with fractions using paper and pencil method (no calculator).

The student knows the appropriate operations to solve real-world problems involving whole numbers, decimals, and fractions.

The student solves one- or two-step real-world problems involving whole numbers, fractions or decimals using appropriate methods of computation, such as mental computation, paper and pencil, and calculator.

As an extension to Lesson Procedures #8, students write a paragraph about where like fractions occur on a daily basis. This builds Language Arts integration into the activity.

Another option would be to give each student or pair of students a newspaper and have them search for LIKE FRACTION examples within various articles. For each example found, the student writes a sentence about the role of like fractions in the article. Remind students that they are looking for fractions with common denominators. Just any old fraction will not do! This makes the task a little more thought provoking.
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