Lesson plan

8. Understand fractions as a distance from zero (C)

teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2 http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/3/NF/A/2
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2b http://corestandards.org/Math/Content/3/NF/A/2/b
teaches Common Core State Standards CCSS.Math.Practice.MP3 http://corestandards.org/Math/Practice/MP3

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Lesson objective: Understand that fractions are numbers on a number line that represent a distance from zero.

Students bring prior knowledge that fractions are a quantity formed when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts from 3.NF.A.1. This prior knowledge is extended to understanding that fractions represent a distance from zero on a number line as students place and locate fractions on number lines. A conceptual challenge students may encounter is understanding that a fraction is one number that has a home on the number line like the whole numbers they previously worked with in earlier grade levels. 

The concept is developed through work with a number line, which visually illustrates for students fractions as a distance from zero.

This work helps students deepen their understanding of number because it is focused on developing understanding that fractions are numbers that live on a number line just like any other number would.

Students engage in Mathematical Practice 3 (construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others) as they explain their reasoning for why Alexa or Jacob is correct.

Key vocabulary:

  • denominator
  • fraction
  • numerator 
  • partition