When spring comes around and your students are itching to get outdoors, these outdoor fraction activities can help to scratch the itch while still keeping a focus on your math instruction.
Create a Human Number Line
Going outside gives you the opportunity to go life-sized with your fraction instruction! Create a number line using sidewalk chalk that spans your target teaching zone.
Working with 3rd graders who are new to fractions? Create a number line that goes from 0 to 1. Working with 4th graders who are gaining an understanding of mixed numbers? A number line from 0 to 5 will work great!
Hand 4-5 students each a fraction card. Ask the students to work to place themselves along the number line. This can be done as a whole class as 4-5 students demonstrate or you can create multiple number lines so multiple groups of students can be working together at the same time.
If any of your students have difficulty with this activity, check out this blog post that troubleshoots fractions on a number line.
Fraction of a Group Scavenger Hunt
You’ll definitely want to add a scavenger hunt to your collection of outdoor fraction activities. There are an abundance of collectible objects outdoors. Blades of grass, small stones, dandelions, leaves, and even pieces of mulch. Use these objects to your advantage as your students get moving to practice fractions of a group.
Call out a fraction and ask your students to gather a collection that matches that fraction. For example, if you call out “2/3” your students might gather a collection of outdoor items with 2 blades of grass and 1 stone. Your students would then need to report to you that 2/3 of the collection was made of blades of grass. As an extension, ask your students to describe another part of their collection using a fraction. In this example, your student might say “1/3 of the collection is made of stones”.
To increase the difficulty, you might specify the number of items in the collection. For example, ” I want you to find a collection of 6 items where 1/2 of the collection is made of stones”.
Fraction Match Egg Hunt Partner Game
If you have a collection of plastic eggs in your basement, this activity will put them to good use! Create small slips of paper that will fit into the eggs. For each fraction you write onto a slip of paper, create another slip with a matching fraction.
Depending on your students and their target skills this may mean putting the number “1/2” into one egg and a picture of a circle shaded to represent 1/2 in another. Or, this may mean putting 1/2 into one egg and 3/6 into another to create matching equivalent fractions. Create fraction matches that work best for your students!
Scatter the eggs around a grassy area and say “On your mark, get set, go!” Each of your students will run and collect one egg and then will walk around to find a partner with a matching egg. After all of your students have found their eggs ask them to stuff the slip of paper back inside, to give their egg a little toss, and play again!
Sidewalk Chalk Town Fraction Sort
Your outdoor fraction activities wouldn’t be complete without a chalk game! This activity would work best with a small group of students. To set up, draw a town “map” with a parking garage and 4 buildings labeled with numbers 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 and connecting roads between them. Next, take a small collection of small cars and stick a small circular garage sale sticker onto each. Label each car with a fraction that is equivalent to 1, 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4. 15-20 cars would work best!
Start with all of the cars at the “parking garage” and allow your students to drive the cars along the road to the house with an equivalent fraction.
This is essentially a fraction sort but going big with chalk allows your students to move around as they drive their cars and adds an engaging element to the activity as well!
Go BIG With Your Outdoor Fraction Activities
When you are outdoors you have the chance to go much BIGGER with instruction than you can indoors. Activities like my decimal, fractions and place value chart are easier to complete together as there is space to spread out the cards and complete the sort.
In this activity, start with the side headings of fractions, decimals, money and place value. Then, give your students one set of cards at a time (I like to start with place value!) and have them fill in the place value chart. After you have completed the activity together these cards make an excellent interactive bulletin board!