Lesson 1

Equal Groups of Unit Fractions

Lesson Purpose

The purpose of this lesson is for students to interpret and relate descriptions, drawings, and multiplication expressions that represent equal groups of unit fractions.

Lesson Narrative

In grade 3, students represented multiplication of whole numbers with arrays, equal-group drawings, area diagrams, and expressions. In an earlier unit, students used diagrams to represent and compare fractions. In this unit, they extend their understanding of multiplication to include equal groups of unit fractions while using familiar representations to support their thinking.

Students begin by looking at situations that involve fractional amounts of food items. Students may rely on given images and descriptions, their own drawings, their understanding of fractions, and what they know about writing and evaluating multiplication expressions for equal groups of whole-number objects. In future lessons, student will use more abstract diagrams and generalize the process of multiplying a whole number and a unit fraction.

  • Representation
  • MLR8

Learning Goals

Teacher Facing

  • Interpret and relate descriptions, drawings, and expressions that represent situations involving equal groups of fractions.

Student Facing

  • Let’s look at equal groups of fractions.

Required Preparation

CCSS Standards


Building Towards

Lesson Timeline

Warm-up 10 min
Activity 1 20 min
Activity 2 15 min
Lesson Synthesis 10 min
Cool-down 5 min

Teacher Reflection Questions

Which question did you ask today that best supported students’ understanding of multiplication of a fraction by a whole number? What did students say or do that showed the question was effective?

Suggested Centers

  • Rolling for Fractions (3–5), Stage 1: Equivalent Fractions (Supporting)
  • Compare (1–5), Stage 5: Fractions (Supporting)

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Additional Resources

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PowerPoint Slides

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