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

Clip 6/16: Adding and Subtracting Fractions Using a Line Plot Lesson Part 1E


As the student groups continue working on their line plot presentation of the fractional quantities, Mallory continues to circulate among the groups, engaging them in explaining their thinking. One student says “You could do ¾ + ¾ + ¾ + ¾, or you could do ¾ times 4.” When Mallory asks, “Why can we do both of those?” the student says, “Because three-fourths times four is just repeated addition.” 

As groups tackle the various problems on their task, Mallory shares her noticing about their approaches and asks questions: “I noticed that you used repeated addition as well. Can one of you guys talk to me about how that addition is equivalent to multiplication? Why can we use both strategies?” She then charges them to “Draw me a model of what ¾ + ¾ + ¾ + ¾ looks like.”

With other groups working on different problems for the task, Mallory ensures that they are making sense of the problem: “What does the question ask us to do?” “What does it mean to combine them?”

Teacher Commentary

When I’m circulating around, I see this as collaborating with them. I don't mind, during my activities, if a child is standing behind their desk if they feel like they need to stand. As long as they're not actually walking around, but their demeanor is engaged, and whatever we are doing they are wanting to be present and be mindful. I don't really agree with the philosophy that if your kids are sitting there straight and still, they're compliant and that's the best way to be. I think that a classroom can be just as engaging if it's loud.

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