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Lesson Plans
Racing for Fractions
3rd–5th Grade

CCSS Math: Number & Operations—Fractions
  • 3.NF.A.2: Understand a fraction as a number on the number line; represent fractions on a number line diagram.
  • 3.NF.A.3.C: Express whole numbers as fractions, and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Examples: Express 3 in the form 3 = 3/1; recognize that 6/1 = 6; locate 4/4 and 1 at the same point of a number line diagram.
Materials Needed


Write the following story on the board or chart paper, or tell it aloud:
Three friends were running a race. Jack ran 1/3 of a mile, Sue ran 1/2 of a mile and Tam ran 1/4 of a mile. Who ran the farthest?


  1. Review what students know about visual models of fractions (e.g., pieces of pizza, fraction of brownies in a pan).
  2. Explain that we can also think of fractions in terms of how far to travel on a number line.
  3. Draw a simple number line on the board or chart paper. Above it, draw a bar model of a fraction. Tell students that this bar is worth 1. Draw hash marks to represent 0 and 1 on the number line right below the left and right edges of the bar.
  4. Invite a student to show 1/3 on the fraction bar by drawing lines and shading in the bar.
  5. Do the same thing to the number line underneath. Point out that on a number line, you draw hash marks and label the fraction with a dot.
  6. Ask, “Where do you think 1/2 would fall on this number line?” Repeat the process until you have labeled all three points from the story and determined that Sue ran the farthest.
  7. Continue with other examples, including improper fractions such as 3/2, to practice dividing a number line and labeling the points.

Independent Practice

  1. Give each student a copy of the Racing for Fractions worksheet.
  2. Have students follow the directions to divide each number line into fractional parts and label the appropriate points.

View the 3rd–5th Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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