# Placing Fractions on a Number Line using Pizza Slices

When teaching fractions, students may still be confused in understanding the size of fractions. A child may be intimidated that fractions are composed of different numbers and symbols to represent one value, when until now, numbers have been whole. But we’ve got a great way for placing fractions on a number line by using something that grabs kids’ attention – pizza!

## Where to start

On the face of it, fractions seem to look complex, but with a little assurance, students will quickly see that they’re like any other number they are familiar with. To recall: there are two numbers separated by a line in the middle. The upper number denotes the numerator, which is the indicator of how many portions of the whole you have. Meanwhile, the denominator indicates how many divisions of the whole you made. It helps for your students to know by heart that a fraction is a portion of a whole. Thus, when combined together with similar fractions, they produce a total of one.

There are so many ways to demonstrate fractions in everyday life. A circular clock is divided into 60 minutes for a full rotation, for example. Pizza and cake are examples of food that actually represent dividing the whole into equal portions. There are so many visualizations you can find in order to incorporate it into your lessons. But now, let’s focus on how to write fractions on a number line just like any other number.

### Writing Fractions on a Number Line

By now, your students will be confident in drawing a number line and plotting numbers along it. They will also know that there is a set amount of space between each point on the number line and this spacing is constant. It’s a worthwhile activity to refresh your kids’ memory with a few number line activities before introducing fractions.

## Pizza Slicing Activity

A classic way to visually teach fractions is by using the representation of pizza pie slices. The materials needed for this activity are simple and easy to find. All you need are a pair of scissors, pencils or markers, paper plates, and a ruler. You may also want to ask your students to bring any coloring materials they like.

First, you can tell the students to design the paper plate as if it were a whole circular pizza. You can ask them to make as many pizzas as they want with the paper plates since this activity will also require the students to slice their wholes into different partitions. While they are designing their pizzas, you can create a large number line on your whiteboard (or chalkboard) starting from 0 on one end, and ending with 1 on the other. Once those are done, you can now ask them to slice their pizza into a certain number of equal slices.

For example, ask them to slice their pizza into halves. Having halves means forming fractions of one-half or 1/2. Then, on the whiteboard, partition the number line into half and label the fraction respectively.  You can also choose to cover or leave off the fraction for now.

Then, ask your students to stick the half slice of pizza halfway between 0 and 1. This will be where your 1/2 fraction will also be written.

Now, ask your students to slice a new whole into thirds. Having thirds means forming one-third or 1/3. On the same number line, partition the line into thirds.

Then, ask your students to stick the one-third slice above the value in the number line.

Now, ask your students to slice a new whole into four equal parts. That means we will be forming one-fourth or 1/4. On the same number line, partition the line into four equal segments.

Then, ask your students to stick the one-fourth slice above the value in the number line.

With these three fractions of 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4, you can start asking your students to compare which fraction is larger than the other. Since the slices are also compared on the number line, it will be easier for your students to understand the comparison of the values of these fractions. After all, in whole numbers, 4 is bigger than 2. So the “4” in one fourth might create a bit of confusion when trying to understand why it is smaller than a “2” in a half fraction!

The size of the slices helps significantly in grasping which fraction is smaller or larger. You may continue to let them slice their pizzas into as many equal parts as you like in order to compare more fractions. With making more slices, your students will also learn more fractions and develop a better sense of how the numerator and the denominators work to influence the size of the pizza slices and how to place them on the number line.

To test their understanding, turn the activity into a game by asking students to randomly select pizza fractions out of a hat or bowl and placing them above the right value on the number line. Let your students talk it out with each other if they believe a mistake has been made and moderate the discussion with key questions.

## Making the Number Line

After doing that visually helpful activity, you can now assess your students to see if they truly know how to place fractions on a number line even without the aid of the pizza slices. Remind them that putting the fractions on the number line is actually similar to slicing up a pizza. Let them acknowledge that a number line from 0 to 1 also represents a whole. If they want to place a certain fraction on the number line, they would have to partition the number line into equal parts of that certain number.

You can ask them to practice creating numerous number lines and placing different fractions. They may start by creating a number line to place 1/2. As long as they remember the pizza slicing activity, they can manage to draw number lines for different fractions effortlessly.

To end, incorporating visual aid before going straight to teaching technical lessons like these will make it easier and more fun for your students to understand and grasp confusing processes.

Remember that as much as your students are capable of going straight to learning the technicalities of mathematics, your students also have the eagerness to find these mathematical concepts creatively in real-life scenarios. Engage with your students even with simple activities like this so that their excitement to learn would still be fueled up.

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## Before You Leave…

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#### Image Sources

Clock

Pizza Paper Craft