Fractions Mastery Lesson: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
The term “Mastery” gets banded around a lot these days. I think we need to be clear that there are series of lessons that are used with a complete mastery approach, but the idea that you can dip into mastery for one off lessons is – in my opinion, anyway – a bit of a misnomer. However, this is undoubtedly an excellent lesson on the four operations of fractions, that with adaptation could be used by anyone. There is a starter that covers concepts that the students may have encountered earlier in the year, including factorising and rearranging equations. And then we move onto my favourite part – the selection of questions. Take the slide on additional and subtraction of fractions. Sure, we have standard questions involving proper fractions, but then we have improper fractions, three fractions, algebraic numerators and algebraic denominators. This is one of the key components of mastery – when introducing a new skill (adding and subtracting fractions) take the opportunity to revisit previous topics (conversion, simplifying expressions, expanding brackets, etc). All of this is rounded off with a classic problem from NRICH and an exit ticket that can be used to review progress.

How can it be used?
The reason I put that warning at the start was that if students are not used to this kind of approach, trouble may be brewing! If students have not encountered, or are not comfortable with, the additional concepts that are woven into this study of fractions, then they will not be able to answer the questions and as a teacher you will have a difficult decision to make – do you teach them the topic there and then and risk derailing the main purpose of the lesson, or do you just move on and leave your students confused? It is a tricky one. That is why lessons such as these need to be used carefully. May advice – even if you are following a mastery curriculum – is that you go through the questions and edit them as necessary to ensure they are suitable for your class. That way you will end up with all the benefits of this wonderful resource – the lovely structure, the range of questions complete with answers – but with none of the potential pitfalls. Alternatively, this lesson may be used as a revision resource for a Year 10/11 class who have finished the curriculum and are preparing for an exam. The fact that several concepts are all rolled into one makes it particularly suitable for this.

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: Fractions Mastery Lesson
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