Cluster 2: Build fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers. (Major Cluster)Archived

Clusters should not be sorted from Major to Supporting and then taught in that order. To do so would strip the coherence of the mathematical ideas and miss the opportunity to enhance the major work of the grade with the supporting clusters.

General Information
Number: MAFS.4.NF.2
Title: Build fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers. (Major Cluster)
Type: Cluster
Subject: Mathematics - Archived
Grade: 4
Domain-Subdomain: Number and Operations - Fractions

Related Standards

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Access Points

MAFS.4.NF.2.AP.3a
Using a representation, decompose a fraction into multiple copies of a unit fraction (e.g., 3/4 = 1/4 + 1/4+ 1/4).
MAFS.4.NF.2.AP.3b
Add and subtract fractions with like denominators (2, 3, 4 or 8) using representations.
MAFS.4.NF.2.AP.3c
Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators (2, 3, 4 or 8).
MAFS.4.NF.2.AP.4a
Multiply a fraction by a whole number using a visual fraction model.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Educational Games

Ice Ice Maybe: An Operations Estimation Game:


This fun and interactive game helps practice estimation skills, using various operations of choice, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, using decimals, fractions, and percents.

Various levels of difficulty make this game appropriate for multiple age and ability levels.

Addition/Subtraction: The addition and subtraction of whole numbers, the addition and subtraction of decimals.

Multiplication/Division: The multiplication and addition of whole numbers.

Percentages: Identify the percentage of a whole number.

Fractions: Multiply and divide a whole number by a fraction, as well as apply properties of operations.

Type: Educational Game

Fraction Quiz:

Test your fraction skills by answering questions on this site. This quiz asks you to simplify fractions, convert fractions to decimals and percentages, and answer algebra questions involving fractions. You can even choose difficulty level, question types, and time limit.

Type: Educational Game

Formative Assessments

How Much Sugar?:

Students are asked to multiply a fraction by a whole number to solve a word problem and to represent the product with a visual fraction model.

Type: Formative Assessment

Training for a Race:

Students are asked to multiply an improper fraction by a whole number to solve a word problem and use a visual model or equation to represent the problem.

Type: Formative Assessment

How Many One Fourths?:

Students are asked to multiply a fraction by a whole number and to represent the product with a visual fraction model.

Type: Formative Assessment

Fractions and Multiples:

Students use a visual fraction model to explain how many one sixths are in begin mathsize 11px style 13 over 6 end style and record their work with an equation.

Type: Formative Assessment

Adding and Subtracting Mixed Numbers:

Students are given pairs of mixed numbers to either add or subtract.

Type: Formative Assessment

Fraction Word Problems:

Students are asked to solve a word problem that involves subtracting fractions with like denominators. Students then analyze a word problem involving subtraction of unlike unit quantities.

Type: Formative Assessment

Decomposing Three-Fifths:

Students are asked to use a visual fraction model to decompose three-fifths in two different ways.

Type: Formative Assessment

Anna Marie and the Pizza:

Students are asked to solve a word problem that involves adding fractions with like denominators. Students then analyze a word problem involving addition of unlike unit quantities.

Type: Formative Assessment

Lesson Plans

Relay Races:

In this lesson, students solve word problems related to races to determine addends of fractions with like denominators that sum to a fraction that is less than or equal to one and has the same denominator as the addends. The focus is on addition, decomposing a fraction into a sum of fractions in more than one way, drawing linear models, and writing equations to represent the problems.

Type: Lesson Plan

Birthday Balloon Planner:

Students will develop a model for choosing a balloon party planner and rank them from best to worst.

The students will be able to use prior knowledge of addition of multi-digit whole numbers, multiplication and division facts and concepts, math calculations with money and time, understanding fractions, and problem solving skills to solve a non-routine MEA (Model Eliciting Activity) that requires real-world application of mathematical skills.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Modeling Multiple Groups of Fractions:

In this inquiry lesson students will use a situational story to explore ways to find the total quantity of a fraction multiplied by a whole number using various models.

Type: Lesson Plan

Multiple Bake Sale Cookie Recipes with fractional ingredients:

In this lesson students will explore ways to find the product of mixed numbers multiplied by a whole number using a real-world situation.

Type: Lesson Plan

"What's the part? What's the whole?":

This lesson provides a conceptual approach to multiplying a fraction times a whole number and a whole number times a fraction.  Students are to use an understanding of the meaning of the denominator and numerator to figure out a strategy for finding the solution. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Learning to Love Like Denominators:

Students engage in problem solving to explore the addition and subtraction of fractions with like denominators. Students make sense of the structure of addition and subtraction equations with like denominators and make generalizations to move from using manipulatives, pictures and number lines to simply adding or subtracting the numerator.

Type: Lesson Plan

Adding and Subtracting in the Real World with Unit Fractions:

Students will use unit fractions, and counting on or back by unit fractions, to solve addition and subtraction real world problems.

Type: Lesson Plan

Looking for Patterns in a Sequence of Fractions:

Students generate and describe a numerical pattern using the multiplication and subtraction of fractions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Decomposing Fractions:

Using circle fraction manipulative, students will decompose fractions to discover adding fractions with like denominators. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring Fraction Multiplication:

Students will link multiplication of a whole number times a fraction with repeated addition and fraction circle manipulative. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Marshmallow Math:

In this lesson, students are physically engaged in measuring distances of tossed marshmallows to the nearest 1/2 foot. Using their measurements, they will represent the data on a line plot and then solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of mixed numbers. This is a fun lesson that motivates students to become excited about the difficult world of fractions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Modeling Multiplication with Fractions:

Students will relate multiplication strategies with fractions through problem solving situations. This lesson connects prior understanding of multiplication and equal groups to multiplication of fractions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Multiple Bake Sale Cookie Recipes with fractional ingredients PART 1:

In this lesson students are guided through the process of multiplying a whole number and a fraction in a real-world situation.  The lesson uses the number line to explain the process.

Type: Lesson Plan

Multiply Fractions and Whole Numbers with Models:

Students will multiply a whole number by a fraction through set models and problem solving.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Buffy's Bakery Part 4- Multiplying a Fraction by a Whole: Standard Algorithm:

Help Buffy multiply fractions by whole numbers using the standard algorithm in addition to visual fraction models in this bakery-themed, interactive tutorial.

This is part 4 of a 4-part series. Click below to open other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Buffy’s Bakery Part 3: Using Models to Multiply a Fraction by a Whole Number:

Help Buffy the Baker multiply a fraction by a whole using models in this sweet interactive tutorial.

This is part 3 of a 4-part series. Click below to open other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Multiplying Fractions with Bake Sale Mania:

Find the total amounts of repeated fraction quantities by multiplying a fraction by a whole number using visual models that represent real-world problems and cookies in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Leftover Dessert Dilemma:

Learn how to decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with common denominators with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Problem-Solving Tasks

Making 22 Seventeenths in Different Ways:

This task is a straightforward task related to adding fractions with the same denominator. The main purpose is to emphasize that there are many ways to decompose a fraction as a sum of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Comparing two different pizzas:

The focus of this task is on understanding that fractions, in an explicit context, are fractions of a specific whole. In this this problem there are three different wholes: the medium pizza, the large pizza, and the two pizzas taken together. This task is best suited for instruction. Students can practice explaining their reasoning to each other in pairs or as part of a whole group discussion.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Writing a Mixed Number as an Equivalent Fraction:

The purpose of this task is to help students understand and articulate the reasons for the steps in the usual algorithm for converting a mixed number into an equivalent fraction. Step two shows that the algorithm is merely a shortcut for finding a common denominator between two fractions. This concept is an important precursor to adding mixed numbers and fractions with like denominators and as such, step two should be a point of emphasis. This task is appropriate for either instruction or formative assessment.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Sugar in six cans of soda:

This task provides a familiar context allowing students to visualize multiplication of a fraction by a whole number. This task could form part of a very rich activity which includes studying soda can labels.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Peaches:

This task provides a context where it is appropriate for students to subtract fractions with a common denominator; it could be used for either assessment or instructional purposes. For this particular task, teachers should anticipate two types of solution approaches: one where students subtract the whole numbers and the fractions separately and one where students convert the mixed numbers to improper fractions and then proceed to subtract.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Connor and Makayla Discuss Multiplication:

The purpose of this task is to have students think about the meaning of multiplying a number by a fraction, and use this burgeoning understanding of fraction multiplication to make sense of the commutative property of multiplication in the case of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Plastic Building Blocks:

The purpose of this task is to have students add mixed numbers with like denominators. This task illustrates the different kinds of solution approaches students might take to such a task. Two general approaches should be anticipated: one where students calculate exactly how many buckets of blocks the boys have to determine an answer, and one where students compare the given numbers to benchmark numbers.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Tutorials

Multiplying a Fraction by a Whole Number:

In this Khan Academy video visual fraction models are used to represent the multiplication of a whole number times a fraction.

Type: Tutorial

What Fraction of Spider Eyes are Looking at Me?:

This Khan Academy video uses authentic pictures to present addition of two fractions with common denominators.

Type: Tutorial

Figuring Out How Much of a Pizza is Left:

This Khan Academy video solves two word problems using visual fraction models.

Type: Tutorial

Comparing Fractions:

This tutorial for student audiences will assist learners with a further understanding that fractions are a way of showing part of a whole. Yet some fractions are larger than others. So this tutorial will help to refresh the understanding for the comparison of fractions. Students will be able to navigate the teaching portion of the tutorial at their own pace and test their understanding after each step of the lesson with a "Try This" section. The "Try This" section will monitor students answers and self-check by a right answer turning orange and a wrong answer dissolving.

Type: Tutorial

Adding Fractions:

In this web-based tutorial, students learn procedures for adding fractions with like and unlike denominators. The tutorial includes visual representations of the problems using pizzas, animations of the algorithm, and links to related lessons, worksheets, and practice problems.

Type: Tutorial

Virtual Manipulative

Fraction Game:

This virtual manipulative allows individual students to work with fraction relationships. (There is also a link to a two-player version.)

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Buffy's Bakery Part 4- Multiplying a Fraction by a Whole: Standard Algorithm:

Help Buffy multiply fractions by whole numbers using the standard algorithm in addition to visual fraction models in this bakery-themed, interactive tutorial.

This is part 4 of a 4-part series. Click below to open other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Buffy’s Bakery Part 3: Using Models to Multiply a Fraction by a Whole Number:

Help Buffy the Baker multiply a fraction by a whole using models in this sweet interactive tutorial.

This is part 3 of a 4-part series. Click below to open other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Multiplying Fractions with Bake Sale Mania:

Find the total amounts of repeated fraction quantities by multiplying a fraction by a whole number using visual models that represent real-world problems and cookies in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Leftover Dessert Dilemma:

Learn how to decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with common denominators with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Educational Games

Ice Ice Maybe: An Operations Estimation Game:


This fun and interactive game helps practice estimation skills, using various operations of choice, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, using decimals, fractions, and percents.

Various levels of difficulty make this game appropriate for multiple age and ability levels.

Addition/Subtraction: The addition and subtraction of whole numbers, the addition and subtraction of decimals.

Multiplication/Division: The multiplication and addition of whole numbers.

Percentages: Identify the percentage of a whole number.

Fractions: Multiply and divide a whole number by a fraction, as well as apply properties of operations.

Type: Educational Game

Fraction Quiz:

Test your fraction skills by answering questions on this site. This quiz asks you to simplify fractions, convert fractions to decimals and percentages, and answer algebra questions involving fractions. You can even choose difficulty level, question types, and time limit.

Type: Educational Game

Problem-Solving Tasks

Making 22 Seventeenths in Different Ways:

This task is a straightforward task related to adding fractions with the same denominator. The main purpose is to emphasize that there are many ways to decompose a fraction as a sum of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Comparing two different pizzas:

The focus of this task is on understanding that fractions, in an explicit context, are fractions of a specific whole. In this this problem there are three different wholes: the medium pizza, the large pizza, and the two pizzas taken together. This task is best suited for instruction. Students can practice explaining their reasoning to each other in pairs or as part of a whole group discussion.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Writing a Mixed Number as an Equivalent Fraction:

The purpose of this task is to help students understand and articulate the reasons for the steps in the usual algorithm for converting a mixed number into an equivalent fraction. Step two shows that the algorithm is merely a shortcut for finding a common denominator between two fractions. This concept is an important precursor to adding mixed numbers and fractions with like denominators and as such, step two should be a point of emphasis. This task is appropriate for either instruction or formative assessment.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Sugar in six cans of soda:

This task provides a familiar context allowing students to visualize multiplication of a fraction by a whole number. This task could form part of a very rich activity which includes studying soda can labels.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Peaches:

This task provides a context where it is appropriate for students to subtract fractions with a common denominator; it could be used for either assessment or instructional purposes. For this particular task, teachers should anticipate two types of solution approaches: one where students subtract the whole numbers and the fractions separately and one where students convert the mixed numbers to improper fractions and then proceed to subtract.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Connor and Makayla Discuss Multiplication:

The purpose of this task is to have students think about the meaning of multiplying a number by a fraction, and use this burgeoning understanding of fraction multiplication to make sense of the commutative property of multiplication in the case of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Plastic Building Blocks:

The purpose of this task is to have students add mixed numbers with like denominators. This task illustrates the different kinds of solution approaches students might take to such a task. Two general approaches should be anticipated: one where students calculate exactly how many buckets of blocks the boys have to determine an answer, and one where students compare the given numbers to benchmark numbers.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Tutorials

Multiplying a Fraction by a Whole Number:

In this Khan Academy video visual fraction models are used to represent the multiplication of a whole number times a fraction.

Type: Tutorial

What Fraction of Spider Eyes are Looking at Me?:

This Khan Academy video uses authentic pictures to present addition of two fractions with common denominators.

Type: Tutorial

Figuring Out How Much of a Pizza is Left:

This Khan Academy video solves two word problems using visual fraction models.

Type: Tutorial

Comparing Fractions:

This tutorial for student audiences will assist learners with a further understanding that fractions are a way of showing part of a whole. Yet some fractions are larger than others. So this tutorial will help to refresh the understanding for the comparison of fractions. Students will be able to navigate the teaching portion of the tutorial at their own pace and test their understanding after each step of the lesson with a "Try This" section. The "Try This" section will monitor students answers and self-check by a right answer turning orange and a wrong answer dissolving.

Type: Tutorial

Virtual Manipulative

Fraction Game:

This virtual manipulative allows individual students to work with fraction relationships. (There is also a link to a two-player version.)

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Problem-Solving Tasks

Making 22 Seventeenths in Different Ways:

This task is a straightforward task related to adding fractions with the same denominator. The main purpose is to emphasize that there are many ways to decompose a fraction as a sum of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Comparing two different pizzas:

The focus of this task is on understanding that fractions, in an explicit context, are fractions of a specific whole. In this this problem there are three different wholes: the medium pizza, the large pizza, and the two pizzas taken together. This task is best suited for instruction. Students can practice explaining their reasoning to each other in pairs or as part of a whole group discussion.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Writing a Mixed Number as an Equivalent Fraction:

The purpose of this task is to help students understand and articulate the reasons for the steps in the usual algorithm for converting a mixed number into an equivalent fraction. Step two shows that the algorithm is merely a shortcut for finding a common denominator between two fractions. This concept is an important precursor to adding mixed numbers and fractions with like denominators and as such, step two should be a point of emphasis. This task is appropriate for either instruction or formative assessment.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Sugar in six cans of soda:

This task provides a familiar context allowing students to visualize multiplication of a fraction by a whole number. This task could form part of a very rich activity which includes studying soda can labels.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Peaches:

This task provides a context where it is appropriate for students to subtract fractions with a common denominator; it could be used for either assessment or instructional purposes. For this particular task, teachers should anticipate two types of solution approaches: one where students subtract the whole numbers and the fractions separately and one where students convert the mixed numbers to improper fractions and then proceed to subtract.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Connor and Makayla Discuss Multiplication:

The purpose of this task is to have students think about the meaning of multiplying a number by a fraction, and use this burgeoning understanding of fraction multiplication to make sense of the commutative property of multiplication in the case of fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Plastic Building Blocks:

The purpose of this task is to have students add mixed numbers with like denominators. This task illustrates the different kinds of solution approaches students might take to such a task. Two general approaches should be anticipated: one where students calculate exactly how many buckets of blocks the boys have to determine an answer, and one where students compare the given numbers to benchmark numbers.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Tutorial

Comparing Fractions:

This tutorial for student audiences will assist learners with a further understanding that fractions are a way of showing part of a whole. Yet some fractions are larger than others. So this tutorial will help to refresh the understanding for the comparison of fractions. Students will be able to navigate the teaching portion of the tutorial at their own pace and test their understanding after each step of the lesson with a "Try This" section. The "Try This" section will monitor students answers and self-check by a right answer turning orange and a wrong answer dissolving.

Type: Tutorial