Lesson plan

1. Compare fractions with unlike numerators and denominators (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.4.NF.A.2 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/4/NF/A/2
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP3
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP4
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Lesson objective: Extend understanding that fractions can be compared as less than, equal to, or greater than another fraction that has unlike numerators and denominators.

Students bring prior knowledge of comparing fractions from 3.NF.A.3.a-d. This prior knowledge is extended to include fractions with unlike numerators and denominators as students continue to compare fractions using the comparison symbols. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is that the whole is the same size when comparing fractions, and that a fraction is a number that represents parts of wholes. 

The concept is developed through work with area models and number lines, which illustrate the relative magnitude of the number.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of numbers because students are reasoning about the size of a number with the fractions' location on the number line or the amount of area the fraction represents.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 4 (Model with Mathematics) as they use number lines and area models to reason with the size of the numbers to form a correct comparison.

Key vocabulary:

  • equal to
  • equivalent
  • greater than
  • less than