Thursday, August 2, 2012

5th Grade Math Unit 4: Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

5th Grade Math Unit 4 is on Fractions, Decimals, and Percents. This unit is pivotal to the 5th graders future success, especially as this group of skills is seen as very important to their understanding of algebra in middle school.

This unit is placed within my static pages (the link is above). As always, I am placing that entire page here for convenience. I hope you find it helpful:

Math Unit 4 in my 5th grade class is focused mainly on fractions, decimals, and percents. In many conversations with 6th grade teachers, I am often told that if their incoming math students know only two things, it needs to be basic multiplication and division facts, and the ability to work with fractions. This is the unit that we start on coming back from Christmas break, and it carries for an entire month. Of course, the teaching of these skills begins early in the school year through daily math practice and consistent math homework as well.

This upcoming school year, we have drawn out the following schedule (our entire math schedule for the 2012-2013 school year can be accessed in .doc format HERE):

January 9 – January 18: Equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents
January 22 – January 30: Compare and order fractions
January 31 – February 8: Add and subtract fractions

When viewing the document for the entire school year, you can see that "unit 4" includes the data unit as well. This was done for our own purposes, but for the purposes of this blog, I have kept these two units separate.

Each one of the skills listed above constitutes what we call a "cycle," according to our Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) format of data analysis and collection. I will list each cycle separately below, with the necessary documents, and some valuable resources and ideas:

Equivalent Fractions, Decimals, and Percents

At one time, as many teachers have, I tried teaching these three skills separately, and found that it was redundant. Fractions, decimals, and percents all go so nicely together, and should be taught together. The PDSA for this cycle is available HERE, as well as the Unit 4 Exam (a quick note, the exam for the entire unit is what I have linked to, the first two problems (the first and most of second page) are what constitutes the exam for this section. To save time, we normally take that portion in isolation, change out the numbers, and give the test). Our tests are in the format they are in because it closely resembles the New Mexico Standards Based Assessment. Here are the resources for this cycle:

Compare and Order Fractions

When looking at the Unit 4 Exam and the PDSA for this lesson, you'll see that this lesson involves putting fractions (and decimals) in the correct order, and comparing them using <,>,= statements. We go up to twelfths, and use like and unlike denominators:
  • Math Playground Comparing Fractions, a simple starting point: A good place for the student that just needs more practice to get it online. I have students take a sheet of paper, and work out the problems as they go.
  • Flower Power: An ordering decimals computer based game.
  • Worksheets:
    • Are You My Equal?: A packet with some decent activities, this whole thing is put together as a unit, with a summative assessment at the end. I'm partial to the fraction templates, equivalent fractions, and dare to compare worksheets included (which I have isolated into a separate pdf file HERE). 
    • TONS of Blackline Masters: I'm surprised I hadn't ever come across this page. There's tons of pdf documents available that are age appropriate for 5th grade, including fraction strips, circles, and a Fraction Number Line. This is based exactly on a lesson done in Math Investigations (but a lot less costly, free always helps).
    • Math Drills Worksheets: A lot of comparing decimals worksheets.

Add and Subtract Fractions

Here's the final part of the unit. The PDSA for this lesson and the Unit 4 Exam will both show that we teach adding and subtracting fractions with both like and unlike denominators. Once students have the hang of it, move on to having them add and subtract mixed numbers:


  1. This blog has described fractions,percentages and ratios in a understandable manner.All these three topics are basics of modern commerce like profit,loss,share and debentures.

  2. thank you for sharing these resources


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