Welcome to Third Grade Action Fractions. This material introduces a scope and sequence of the lessons (along with associated CT assessments), a guide to lesson organization and an introduction to the pedagogy of Action Fractions. You will also find tips to help you start planning and teaching right away regardless of what curriculum you currently use.
If you are currently teaching Everyday Mathematics, Action Fraction lessons are integrated into the Everyday Mathematics curriculum across the year. For example, in third grade the lessons are as follows: one lesson during unit 1, three lessons during unit 2, one lesson during unit 4, three lessons during unit 5, one lesson during unit 6, and two lessons during unit 7. After the lesson in unit 8 is completed, a culminating Scratch project activity will be assigned. Additionally, there are three CT assessments, one beginning of the year math assessment, and one end of year (E-O-Y) math assessment administered. Plan to spend approximately 45–90 minutes per Scratch lesson. Unplugged lessons are typically 15 minutes. The lessons are designed to be implemented in the suggested sequential order.
If you are not currently teaching Everyday Mathematics, you may wish to spend some time determining where the Action Fractions content would best fit within the scope and sequence of your curriculum. Pertinent information related to precursor skills is summarized in each Lesson Opener (first page of each lesson). Please reference each lesson's "Math Connections" and "CS Connections" to help you decide what is most appropriate for your situation.
Action Fraction lessons can be divided into three categories: unplugged, skill building and culminating project. Each year of instruction includes approximately 12 activities. Major concepts are often introduced first in an unplugged activity, followed by several skill building activities. Each year concludes with an open-ended, culminating project.
Most skill-building lessons follow a similar format. First, the context is set in the lesson opening which provides mathematics connections and the Computational Thinking (CT) connections. Organizational and management considerations are also introduced along with key vocabulary words and the CT big ideas for the lesson. Each lesson includes both a list of anticipated barriers to learning and options for adopting the lessons based on student preferences and needs. In the, "Warm Up" section students review important material and are introduced to the lesson learning goals in the form of, "I Can" statements. Learn more about, "I Can" statements in this video.
Next, in the "Focus" section, students are presented with example code that illustrates the use of a CT concept for exploring a mathematics concept. Students are stepped through the example code in three steps using the TIPP&SEE learning strategy: observing how it currently works, inspecting the code and predicting what code blocks had particular effects. Finally, students make small changes to new code blocks in order to better understand the code. Students then use those code blocks to make their own scripts according to prompts in their journal pages. You can learn more about using the TIPP&SEE format in this video.
Finally, in the "Wrap Up" section of the lessons, students engage in whole group discussion of their work, and reflect on their learning by revisiting the "I Can" statements.
Actions Fractions has an associated set of three grade-specific assessments that are designed to make visible students' developing CT competencies. Each assessment focuses on a set of CT knowledge and skills taught during the preceding lessons. Although some items on these assessments use a math context, their primary purpose is to help teachers interpret students' CT learning.
In addition, each year's culminating project provides teachers another opportunity to assess students' CT by reflecting on the CT knowledge and skills that students demonstrated through building their project.
How-To Videos & Slide Decks
How-To PDFs
Children review equal shares by dividing a brownie into four equal shares, and reinforces the idea that shares can be equal size, even if they are different shapes.
Children learn how to access the Scratch website and their class’s projects. They explore the Scratch workspace and understand the components. Children use and remix a simple project illustrating a number story.
Children review how to access the Scratch workspace and their Class Studio. Children use and remix a simple project about equal sharing to explore how changing the blocks in a project can change the outcome.
Students use Scratch to create representations of fractions using fraction circle pieces, by modifying a functioning example program.
The Grade 3 Early Assessment can be used to gauge students' understanding of important CT content from the previous four lessons.
Children draw polygons on Geoboard Dot Paper based on general descriptions given by their teacher. Children are reminded of how computers interpret instructions and work in partnerships, attempting to write the instructions as though their partner is a computer.
Children explore creating fractions of different-size wholes. They explore the idea that there are multiple ways to reach a desired solution using a limited set of instructions.
Children prepare to create animations in Scratch, by decomposing a simple story into a comic strip Storyboard with 4 scenes using equivalent Fraction Number Cards.
Children use their Fraction Comic Strip Storyboard to animate a Fraction Comic in Scratch. They learn to use wait blocks to synchronize the actions on the stage given a limited set of instructions (commands).
The Grade 3 Mid Assessment can be used to gauge students' understanding of important CT content from the previous four lessons.
Children enter a fraction into a custom "walk:__" block, then see their sprite walk that fraction along the number line. They explore fractional values and distances on a number line.
Children attempt to move a frog to the end of a number line, starting with incorrect arguments in their code. They make guesses and modify the code to partition the line segment into equal fractional parts and catch a fly at the end.
Children solve a Fraction Number Line Mystery in which they read clues to identify a fraction on a number line. They use known CS concepts, such as repetition, and new Scratch blocks such as hide/show, go to, and wait.
Children create their own projects in Scratch to demonstrate what they have learned both about fractions and about programming. In addition to the base project, children may choose to work on the extension activity that challenges them to use more advanced blocks to change the background, add sound, and so on.
The Grade 3 Late Assessment can be used to gauge students' understanding of important CT content from the previous four lessons.
Action Fractions is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded partnership (award number 1932920) between the University of Chicago STEM Education center, the University of Florida, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The project is focused on the development of integrated mathematics (fractions) and computational thinking (CT) learning materials for third and fourth graders. While the project was originally developed for use with the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, the activities may be used with any mathematics curriculum.