Prior to beginning the lesson: (1) Photocopy the Problem of the Day onto transparency paper for the overhead projector; (2) Cut out and laminate Vocabulary Cards for display in the classroom; (3) Assemble Fraction Circles (1 per student); (4) Photocopy Comparing Fractions Practice Sheet (1 per student).

Group Size: Whole class

Learning Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Compare fractions and explain why fractions are smaller or bigger than one another.
  • Understand that bigger fractions have smaller denominators.

Problem of the Day (see attachment), Fraction Circles (see attachment), Comparing Fractions Practice Sheet (see attachment), Gator Pie by Louise Matthews, Vocabulary Cards (see attachment), overhead projector


Lesson Introduction: Display Problem of the Day on the overhead projector. Ask students: What strategy should we use to solve this problem? Guide them towards draw a picture. Solve the problem together as a class. Students can copy problem and solution into math notebooks.

  1. Distribute Fraction Circles and show students how to use them.
  2. Tell students: I am going to read you a story. I want you to pretend that you are an alligator in the story. Every time the pie in the story is cut, I want you to use your Fraction Circle to show me how much of the pie you would get to eat. Read the story Gator Pie out loud to students.
  3. Pause while reading to ask students: How much of the pie would you get to eat? What is the fraction? Call on a student to come write the correct fraction on the board. Repeat this questioning each time the pie in the story is cut.
  4. When the story is finished, ask students: Did you get more or less of the pie as the story went on? Would you rather share with two people or with twelve people? What happens to the denominator? Make sure that students understand as the denominator gets bigger, their share gets smaller.
  5. Display Vocabulary Cards > and < on the board. Review the meaning with students.
  6. Use two fractions from the story to practice using > and <. For example, put "1/2" and "1/12" on the board and have students use > and < to show which piece of pie would be bigger. Continue with three or four more examples from the story.
  7. Tell students: Now you are going to get to try this on your own. Distribute Comparing Fractions Practice Sheet to students and instruct them to fill in the blank with > or < for each problem.
Modifications: For students with special needs, teacher can assist with writing when necessary and allow for extra time.


Teacher should monitor student participation and independent work to ensure all students understand the concept.

Benchmark or Standards:

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Number and Operations Standard:

  • Develop a sense of whole numbers and represent and use them in flexible ways, including relating, composing, and decomposing numbers.
  • Understand and represent commonly used fractions, such as 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Data and Analysis and Probability Standard:

  • Pose questions and gather data about themselves and their surroundings.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Process Standard:

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving.
Attached Files:

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