Ms Mel Cole | Year 6 Teacher
With their pre-marked squares, blocks of chocolate lend themselves easily to demonstrate fractions and how they work. This was the case last Friday when the Year 6 class faced some tough decisions in their chocolate challenge. Bringing in some helpers to increase numbers, the students had to work out not only how to get the biggest fraction possible of the chocolate available, but they also had to create those fractions in their final groups.
Problem: There are three tables set up in the classroom. The first table has one block of chocolate, the second has two and the third has three blocks of chocolate. The class is waiting outside to enter one by one. As each student enters the room, they must decide which table to sit at in order to receive a bigger fraction of the chocolate at that table.
We started with eight ‘helpers’ already seated. Two students were at Table 1 and three students were each at Tables 2 and 3. Students then had to decide where each of their subsequent classmates would sit and justify their answer. Some students saw a pattern very quickly, others used some concrete materials while others still relied on the visual information provided. Once every student was seated, each group had to use the chocolate to actually show their fractions. This was not as easy as it sounds – how would you break one small square of chocolate into sevenths?