# Building Fraction Sense with Number Talks

Do your students have fraction sense?

Fractions seem to bring out fear and anxiety in students more than any other math topic. What can we do to help make fractions a more enjoyable and accessible math topic for every upper elementary student?

In this post, I will share an easy routine that you can add to your math block that will help develop fraction sense in all of your students.

## What is Fraction Sense?

Fraction sense involves having the flexibility, fluency, and ability to easily manipulate and reason about fractions. Students who have strong fraction sense have a deeper understanding of fraction concepts. They will be able to understand and work with fractions on a deeper level beyond just following steps or rules.

Before moving on to more complex fraction topics, it’s important to make sure your students have a solid foundation of the basic fraction concepts.

## Why Build Fraction Sense?

Building fraction sense in elementary students helps to build the foundation for more challenging fraction concepts students will encounter in middle school and beyond.

Many math curriculums are heavily focused on fraction computation. There is very little (if any) time spent providing students with opportunities to gain a deep understanding of and flexibility with fractions.

One year I started a 5th grade unit on fractions by asking students to estimate where different fractions should be placed on a number line from 0 to 1. I thought this would be a quick warm-up exercise, but it quickly became an unexpected eye-opener for me!

I was surprised to learn that many of my 5th grade students could not tell me if 2/5 was closer to zero or closer to one. Many students could not tell me what the numerator or denominator meant or represented.

My students were lacking basic fraction sense. How could we tackle the 5th grade fraction standards, including all four fraction operations, without a strong fraction sense foundation?

Here is how I added building fraction sense into my daily math routine.

## Fraction Number Talks

To help build students’ fraction sense, I started using fraction number talks each day at the beginning of math class. Fraction number talks are a 5-10 minute whole class routine that helps to build conceptual understanding, flexibility with fractions, and the ability to reason with fractions.

Read more about number talks HERE

Fraction number talks are a low-risk, high-reward way to engage students in meaningful thinking and dialog about fraction concepts.

Fraction number talks can focus on equivalence, comparing or ordering fractions, benchmark fractions, computation, fraction magnitude, and more!

All you need to do a fraction number talk is an image or a problem and a way to display it to students. Once students see the image, question, or fraction prompt, give them a few minutes of wait time to solve the problem and formulate their thoughts.

The most important component of number talks is sharing and discussion amongst students. This is where the magic happens! By sharing and listening to peers, students learn that there are many different ways to think about and solve problems correctly.

Using fraction number talks to build fraction number sense will help reinforce basic concepts, while also developing a deeper level of understanding to your students’ journey with fractions.

## How to Get Started

Are you ready to take your students’ fraction sense to the next level?

To help you get started, I have a free set of 20 number talks specifically designed for upper elementary students. These number talks will provide engaging and thought-provoking experiences for your students to build their fraction number sense.

Sign up to receive this free set of number talks by clicking HERE or on the image above.

## Want More Number Talks?

Grab ready to go number talks by clicking any of the links below. There are number talks to help build fraction sense, decimal number sense, and number sense with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Number Strings Bundle (add, subtract, multiply and divide)

Number Talks and Number Strings Bundle