Teach Equivalent Fractions Using This Simple Paper and Crayon Activity

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Needed Materials

rectangular pieces of paper


Description of the Activity

  • Provide each student with a piece of rectangular paper. Fold the paper in half. After you have folded the paper in half, instruct students to do the same. Explain that a fraction is a part of a whole. You have divided a whole piece of paper into two equal parts.
  • Instruct students to color one of the two equal parts. Ask a student to write 1/2 on the board to show that one out of the two equal parts is now shaded.
  • Introduce the vocabulary words numerator and denominator. The numerator is the number of parts shaded and the denominator is the total number of equal parts. (For those students who have difficulty remembering which is the numerator and which is the denominator, try this memory association technique - In a fraction, one number is UP above the line and one is DOWN below the line. Numerator has a “u” in it and so does up; denominator begins with “d” and so does down.)
  • Demonstrate and have students fold additional pieces of paper (one for each fractional amount) to represent 1/4, 3/4, 1/3, 2/3, and 1/8. Each time, a student should write the fraction on the board and identify its numerator and denominator. If you prefer, project a rectangle onto the board and divide the rectangle into the same fractions as those in the paper-folding demonstration.
  • Equivalent Fractions: Ask students to fold a rectangular sheet of paper in half and color one of the two equal parts. Ask what fraction of the paper is colored. (1/2) Now have them refold the same paper and then fold it in half once again. Unfold. How many equal parts now? (4) What fraction is shaded? (2/4 or 1/2) Since the amount of shading has not changed, this means that 1/2=2/4. Tell students that 1/2 and 2/4 are two names for the same amount. Therefore, they are equivalent. Now have students refold the papers and then fold in half a third time. Unfold. What new fraction have they found that is equivalent to 1/2 and 2/4? (4/8) These three fractions (1/2, 2/4, 4/8) name the same amount.


  • Students can demonstrate fractions and equivalent fractions using paper strips.
  • Students can write the fractions for the amounts demonstrated using the paper strips.


Fractions can be integrated with music by connecting whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth notes with the appropriate fractions.