What is one-half?

What is one-half?

What would our world be like without fractions? Our language would certainly change!

You could never tell a friend to break a cookie in “half” to share with you. You could only tell them to break it into two pieces. A glass containing water could never be described as “half full.” How could you describe a partially filled glass? There would be no such thing as “half past the hour.” You could never say you are “halfway” there when traveling.

Obviously, fractions are truly an important part of our language. They are equally important in mathematics.

Fractions were used by many early civilizations, including the Babylonians, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus (in India). Many times, they only used fractions for very specific mathematical equations. Today, fractions are a very important part of the study of mathematics.

What is one-half?

National Teaching Standards:

NCTM Standards for Pre-K-2-Number and Operations; Data Analysis; Problem Solving; Communication; Connections, Representation


This activity demonstrates how something can be divided into parts called fractions.

NOTE: Educators/Parents should consider reading the entire text to their children, if necessary, as they assist them with the activity.


construction paper squares (various colors) cut into shapes as required for each grade level in this activity, markers, scissors, worksheets

NOTE: All worksheets are located at the end of this activity.

Activity for Students in Kindergarten

  1. Get a square of colored construction paper.
  2. Write the number 1 in the middle of the square. This number means you have one whole sheet.
  3. Fold the paper so that you make a crease across the middle of the sheet.
  4. Draw a line along this crease to show the paper is in two parts. Each part is called a FRACTION. A fraction is part of a whole.
  5. Write a 2 on each part of the construction paper. This number tells you that you now have TWO parts instead of just one.
  6. Get a circle of colored construction paper. Write a 1 in the middle of the circle.
  7. Fold the circle to make a crease in the middle of the circle.
  8. Draw a line along this crease to create two sections of the circle.
  9. Write a 2 on each section of the circle.
  10. You have demonstrated how ONE whole sheet can be divided into TWO equal sections. Each section is called a fraction.
  11. Draw a line over each number 2 you have drawn on the sheets of construction paper.
    EXAMPLE
  12. Write a 1 on the top of each of these lines. EXAMPLE
  13. You have just written a fraction. is called “one half.” One half (RENE DRAWING FRACTIONS C) + one half (RENE DRAWING FRACTIONS C) = 1 (whole).
  14. The number 1 in the fraction is called a Numerator. It is always placed on top of the line.
  15. The number 2 in the fraction is called a Denominator.
  16. Complete Worksheet A.

Activity for Students in Grade ONE
NOTE: Conduct the Kindergarten Activity before you begin this listed Activity.

  1. Get a square of colored construction paper.
  2. Separate this square into four equal sections. You may want to fold the paper first to make creases. (See example below.)
  3. Write the fraction ¼ onto each section of the paper. Each section is called “one fourth” (1/4) of the “whole” (1). Get a circle of colored construction paper.
  4. Separate the circle into four equal sections. Label each section as ¼.
  5. Get a square and a circle of colored construction paper.
  6. Decide how to separate the square and circle into EIGHT sections.
  7. Once you have decided how to separate the square and the circle into sections, create the eight sections.
  8. Label each section as 1/8. This fraction is called “one eighth.”
  9. Complete Worksheet B.

Activity for Students in Grade TWO
NOTE: Conduct the Kindergarten and Grade One Activities before you begin this listed Activity.

  1. A rectangle is divided into five sections. (See Drawing after Statement 3)
  2. Write the correct fraction inside each section.
  3. You find a part of a circle that looks like the Drawing after Statement 3.
  4. Write the correct fraction inside each section.
  5. Complete Worksheet C.

EXTENSION ACTIVITIES FOR ALL GRADE LEVELS

  1. Cut construction paper into unusual shapes. See if you can easily divide each shape into sections (fractions) of 1/3 or 1/4.
  2. Discover which fractions are easiest and which fractions are hardest to use when cutting a pizza into equal pieces.

WORKSHEET A

  1. Color and cut out each shape on this Worksheet.
  2. Separate each shape into two halves. You can either draw a line or fold each shape to create a crease in the paper.

WORKSHEET B-Part 1

  1. Color and cut out each shape in Part A of this Worksheet.
  2. Separate each shape into three sections, or thirds (1/3).
    PART A
  3. Color and cut out each shape in Part B of this Worksheet.
  4. Separate each shape into eight sections, or eighths (1/8).
    PART B

WORKSHEET C

  1. Write the correct fraction inside each section of each of these drawings.
  2. Match the fractions below with the correct drawing.

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MATH RESOURCES FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE