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Fractional Hearts

Invite students to use fractions to create unique representations of the heart.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. As a pre-holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day) activity, read the class a story about hearts, such as Patricia Polacco’s “Gifts of the Heart,” Michael Hall’s “My Heart is Like a Zoo,” or Mark Sperring’s “The Shape of My Heart.” Assess comprehension as the story progresses.
    2. Organize students into groups of four. Have four colors of Crayola® Construction Paper cut into squares measuring 12 inches by 12 inches (30.48 cm by 30.48 cm), a different color for each member of the team. Provide each group with a variety of Crayola Crayons, Erasable Colored Pencils, Markers, Crayola Glue Sticks, and rulers.
    3. Instruct student teams that construction paper squares are to be divided into fourths. Rulers are provided to measure the paper divisions equally. As these divisions are being made, ask students to discuss their processes in determining how to arrive at four equal sections.
    4. When divisions are complete, ask each student to draw a heart on his piece of construction paper, making use of as much of the paper space as possible. Within their groups, students should discuss the geometric attributes present in a heart shape, such as arcs, angles, lines, etc.
    5. Inform students that they are to create an original illustration on their papers. This may be something inspired by the picture book they have just experienced, or something personally motivated. Provide class time for students to design and color using materials provided.
    6. With illustrations complete, ask students to cut their pieces of construction paper into fourths. Each student will keep only ¼ of his original design. He will share the other three pieces with his teammates. When sharing is complete, all members of the group will possess ¼ of each teammate’s drawing.
    7. Provide all students with a 12 inch by 12 inch square of white construction paper. Using Crayola Glue Sticks, students will attach their collection of heart pieces. Fractional hearts are born!
    8. If time in the school day allows, ask each group to share with classmates the inspiration behind their hearts. What kind of a heart story emerges from each brief presentation?
    9. Organize student work into a quilt-like bulletin board display.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

    MATH: Build fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers and ordering.

    MATH: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit.

    MATH: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan, and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

    VA: Creative thinking and artmaking skills transfer to many aspects of life.

  • Adaptations

    Extend this activity by challenging student groups to write a short story about their Fractional Heart illustrations. Display the stories with artwork.

    Challenge student measurement skills by asking them to divide the fractional hearts into smaller sections such as fifths, sixths, etc. How will they create the angles to divide the sections?

    Reverse the illustration/writing process. Invite student groups to write a short story that contains four distinct actions. Each member of the group will illustrate a part of the story. Cut the illustrations into fourths and create a Fractional Heart representing the original story.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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