Why not learn fractions with watermelon as well! Watermelon is a great snack for kids and an opportunity for learning about fractions. With the last fraction activity using oranges, the whole was the whole orange. In this case, I use a circular slice of the watermelon as a whole. Why? All of us need to see the whole in different ways and its parts.
At this time, my oldest was 5, second oldest was about to turn 4, and my youngest was too young to notice what we were doing, nor could eat watermelon. Taking a slice of watermelon, I told them that this slice is the whole. Cutting in half, I then said that this is now cut in half. “What do you notice about the two pieces that came from the whole slice of watermelon?” “Are they the same, or different?” If cut this slice of watermelon into two pieces and give it to the both of you, would you want them to be the same or different?” “Why?”
Those are the questions, I asked and still ask when the moment presents itself. When asking the kids questions, ask both questions that will result in a yes or no, and ask them questions that they need to explain more. The most important thing to remember is just to ask your child questions to find out what they are thinking.
Now cut the two equal parts in half again. How many slices of watermelon was the whole cut into? What are they called now? Are they called halves, or something else? Answer: they are called fourths. Cut each of those fourths in half and what do you get? Answer: they are called eighths. Why are they called eighths? Are each of these eighths the same/equal to the other eighths? If we put all of these eight eighths together, what do they make? These are just a sample of questions to ask your kids. Just be mindful of how many questions you ask before the kids’ attention span is gone. 🙂
Now eat and enjoy so they can taste the delicious mathematics they just learned! 🙂
Here are more pictures for you to use. Print them out and use them for later to help your kids learn their fractions again. The kids can also use the pictures to help them cut the fruit in equal pieces.
Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?
2. Wednesday-Big and Small
3. Thursday- More and Less
Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?
1. Friday- Numbers, Part/Whole, Half, Thirds
Something to Think About:
It is also good to remember that the whole does not always need to be a circle either. Try a piece of bread and cut that into half. Talk about that and ask the kids questions about whether they think it is important for the two pieces to be the same or not. Then cut that into fourths and eighths. What about bananas? Talk about the whole fruit of the banana as the whole and how would they cut the whole in half? How about fourths? How about thirds? How about fifths? What would that look like? Fractions are our friends. Fruity fractions are even better!
Remember, learning is not a race. If you think it is a race, it is better to think of different ways to finish and that it is more important to get there than who gets there first. With mathematics, it was always meant to be learned and by all. So think of other ways you can be in the house or outside and teach your kids about fractions and the vocabulary. You are, in fact, your child’s first teacher.