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5th Grade Math – Adding and Subtracting Fractions Using a Line Plot

Clip 2/16: Adding and Subtracting Fractions Using a Line Plot Lesson Part 1A


Opening her lesson on adding and subtracting fractions using a line plot, Mallory distributes a problem: “Bulk Candy: Some 5th-grade students attended a birthday party on the weekend. They left with bags of candy that were from the piñata. Organize the data and create a line plot to display the data.” She orients her students to the task: “The first thing we always want to talk about is ‘What do you notice, what do you observe?’ before I give it to you.” Students discuss their observations with their peers at table groups. Mallory elicits some of their observations and then sets students to the task of getting started on the problem.

Teacher Commentary

This lesson was actually an activity that I took from an assignment that the district had. We recreated my own version of it. With this assignment, the standard basically asked them to create a line plot, analyze the line plot. There are so many different levels of depth of knowledge with a line plot. Creating one is a little bit old—just looking at the plots on a line and doing whatever calculations with that is pretty easy. So we wanted to scaffold this in a way. And so when we did this, I wanted to take students through the discovery of how to create one, why we create one. The biggest thing that I love is that most of their life they have been told a number line starts with zero. But why does it have to start with a zero? Do you notice any value above that zero or anything that needs to be plotted? These elements that come out when you're questioning them: about why do we create a line plot, what is it used for, and what's its purpose.

Materials & Artifacts