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Launch the Engage Section

ACTS is what the teacher will do and ASKS is how the teacher will facilitate.

  1. On the board, draw a picture of a cupcake and a picture of a round cake, with one piece drawn in (the piece should be roughly equivalent to the cupcake in size).
  2. As students answer, tally their responses on the board beneath the drawing, to keep track of them.
  3. Draw the rest of the pieces of cake into the cake drawing to create 8 slices total.
  4. For each tally mark, write the fraction below it. For cupcakes, it would be 1/1 for each; for cake it would be ⅛.
  5. Total each set of fractions and write it on the board. Then draw a cake piece beside the cupcake drawing.
  1. Imagine we are going to have a party, and for dessert, you have the choice of a whole cupcake or a piece of cake. Which would you want, and why?
  2. Does one seem like more or less than the other one? Do they seem equal to you or different?
  3. Now, if I wanted to have enough of each dessert for you all to have what you picked, how many of each would I need?
  4. What do you notice about how I wrote these numbers? You can have fractions for a whole number, like the cupcakes, and fractions for parts of a whole number, like the pieces of cake.
  5. Is a whole cupcake and a whole cake the same amount of dessert? What could I do if I wanted to make the dessert choices equal? What do you notice about these two? So even though they are parts of different whole, they can be equivalent.

Getting the Students Ready to Build

Do you think we could build something with our VEX GO Kit to help us see fractions?
We are going to build something with two equal sides, so that we can see whether fractions are equivalent or not.

Facilitate the Build

  1. InstructInstruct students to join their teams, and have them complete the Robotics Roles & Routines sheet. Use the Suggested Role Responsibilities slide in the Lab Image Slideshow as a guide for students to complete this sheet.

    Tell them that they are going to construct a double sided box to help them mix and match fractions using the VEX GO pieces.

  2. DistributeDistribute build instructions to each team.

    Tell students that they are only building the box right now. Students should build Steps 1-9, and stop there. Journalists should gather the materials on the checklist.

    Fractions Build
    Fractions Build


  3. FacilitateFacilitate the building process.
    1. Builders can begin building.
    2. Journalists should assist with build instructions as needed.
    3. Help students think about how the build is coming together with questions like:
      1. Why do you think the pieces are still moveable in the first few steps?
      2. Why do you think the connectors are used this way to make walls?
      3. What do you notice about the spaces inside the boxes?
  4. OfferOffer suggestions and note positive team building.

    Highlight successful problem solving strategies as teams build together as well.

A VEX GO character

Teacher Troubleshooting

Facilitation Strategies

  • Encourage Thoughtful Building in the Whole Group - As students are building, ask questions about the process to help them think about why pieces are going together in this particular way. For instance, question about why the connectors are used instead of beams for the side walls, or what helps the build stop being movable, enable students in all roles to be engaged in the building process.
  • Think Outside the Box - If individuals are struggling to make sense of the part/whole connection, but the rest of the group is moving ahead, encourage the individual student to layer beams and plates outside the build, on their own graph paper, to help make the connection tangible. Start with a large white plate, and trace that on the graph paper. Then fit smaller beams and plates into the drawn rectangle, like a puzzle, as many times as necessary to make the connection clear for that student.
  • Use the Get Ready...Get VEX...GO! PDF Book and Teacher’s Guide - If students are new to VEX GO, read the PDF book and use the prompts in the Teacher’s Guide (Google / .pptx / .pdf) to facilitate an introduction to building and using VEX GO before beginning the Lab activities. Students can join their groups and gather their VEX GO Kits, and follow along with the building activity within the book as you read.