A fun elementary fractions lesson for your class.


Content Area
Elementary Math - Fractions

Content Targets
Identifying parts of a whole, percentages, working with fractions as discrete models, graphing data using bar graphs, recording data in a table, classifying and sorting objects, number sense

Learning Objective
After learning about the different types of fraction models, students will be able to analyze a discrete model in order to identify fractions (as fractions, decimals and percentages) by working with a candy sample to fill out a table and draw a bar graph.


3rd Grade - 4th Grade -5th grade











Academic Language Focus
How to distinguish between an area model, discrete model and number line
How to sort and categorize candies by color
What it means to record data
What it means to show the same quantity as a fraction, decimal and percentage


Key Vocabulary
Area model, discrete model, numerator, denominator, percentage, fraction, decimal

Lesson Materials
Candy Fractions worksheets
A cookie, some coins and a ruler
Small paper cups
A bag of small, unwrapped candies
Pencils, crayons, colored tape.

Write the fraction on the board. Have students identify the numerator (part) and denominator (whole). Explain to students that there are other ways to write this fraction. Show students how to show as a decimal and as a percentage. Write one or two more fractions and have students convert or tell you how to convert them in to decimals and percentages.


Erase everything on the board except . Ask a student to show the class how to draw this as a model. Most likely, the student will make a pie chart and shade in one fourth. Show the students a cookie and with colored tape, mark off . Tell students that this is an area model. Remind students that an area model can be a square, rectangle or any other plane. Explain that there are two other models that we could use to show . Pull out a ruler and tell students that this is an example of a number line.


Explain that 12 inches is the whole and ask students what they think of the 12 in. is. Mark off three inches with the tape to show . Next, tell students there is yet another way to show . Set out some coins (pennies and nickels) and ask a student volunteer to show that of a group of coins are pennies. A student can show 1 penny and 3 nickels, 2 pennies and 6 nickels, etc. Tell students that this is a discrete model, since the parts of the whole are separate objects.


Display the three models of in the classroom for students to refer to.

Ask 3 students with fair hair to stand up in front of the class. Ask 2 students with dark hair to stand up in front of the class.

  • Ask students what is the whole (5).

  • Ask student students what fraction of the students has fair hair (3/5).

  • What fraction has brown hair? (2/5)

  • What type of model is this? (discrete)

Pass out small cups of candy to students (10-20 pieces per cup) and the Candy Fraction packet (see printables). Tell students that today we are going to be working with a discrete model- pieces of candy. We are going to divide our candy samples by color to find out what colors we have as fractions of our whole sample.


Read through the whole packet with students and do steps 1 and 2 together as a class. Chose a color to do together as an example and answer any questions that come up (fill in the table and bar graph for that one color as a class). Remind students that they will have different answers since they all have different samples. Students can then fill in their packet with the rest of the colors.

To review the major concepts, have students choose one fraction they found and draw sketches of it as an area model, discrete model and number line.

Have students share their findings with a partner and post their tables and bar graphs on a bulletin board.






Candy Fractions Printable Packet *

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