Ms. Marjon brought two boxes of donuts to her classroom one day. With a total of 24 donuts and 23 students, there was a dilemma. Before the children were able to eat the donuts, they had to figure out how to split them up so that each person could receive one donut. You can see their sketches below on how to solve this problem. At one point, one of the students came up with a fraction that if they cut each of the donuts in half, then each child could receive two pieces.
As soon as they solved this math problem, another child walked into the classroom. The children became elated because now they had the exact amount for everyone to cut one donut into two pieces with zero leftovers and everybody received the same amount!
By just providing donuts to the children, a rich learning experience filled with complex mathematical solutions for a real world problem was created. This activity could’ve easily been written out as a word problem on a math sheet. How many times have we seen this:
“There are 24 donuts and 23 students. What fraction do you use in order for there to be no leftover donuts and each student receives the same amount of donut?”
By allowing the students to work together to hypothesize, theorize, evaluate, test, and cut an actual item, they were able to learn about fractions in a more straightforward way and will have an easier time recalling fractions and how they applied the numbers.