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How Can You Use Pattern Blocks to Simplify Fractions?

Use pattern blocks to help students find equivalent fractions.  Students simply take the blocks and trade them in for larger and larger blocks until they can not use any larger blocks to make the same shape.  See below for some examples.   The first row shows the blocks as fractions of 1 hexagon.

To make using hexagons for fractions more engaging, call them cookies since they are yellow and the size of a cookie.  There is a TERC math investigation lesson called “Hexagon Cookies” which is in the Fair Shares book (for 3rd grade).  Hexagon Cookies makes a great lesson to teach previous to simplifying fractions with the pattern blocks.

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