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Making a Cake

Shelly Hester
2nd grade
South Douglas Elementary School
Douglas County Schools


In this task, students will justify that the numerator represents objects of the set or parts of the whole and that the denominator represents the total objects of the set or the total parts of the whole. Students will also compare simple fractions and tell why one fraction is greater than, less than, or equal to the other; and represent halves, thirds, fourths, sixths, eighths, and tenths using various fraction models.

Illustrative Task
  1. Read the book Gator Pie by Louise Mathews
  2. Discuss what happens to the slices of cake as the denominator gets larger.
  3. Present the Making a Cake task: Imagine if you had a cake at your table and wanted to share the whole thing with the students at your table. How could you cut your cake to assure that each person had the same amount of cake? What fraction would each person get to eat? Use pictures, words, and numbers to explain your answers.
  4. Provide pairs of students with a pan, chart paper, play-doe, markers, number card to tell students how many people they need to imagine are at their table, and a craft stick. They design their cake and cut it into a given amount.
  5. Students complete the Making a Cake task.
  6. Examine each piece of cake and determine the fraction to describe one slice taken out. Put the slices in order from smallest to largest as a whole class. Students share their findings in groups through class presentations. The teacher asks probing questions about connections between various groups.

GPS Addressed
M2N4. Students will understand and compare common fractions with small denominators.
  1. Model, identify, label, and compare fractions (thirds, sixths, eighths, tenths) as a representation of equal parts of a whole or of a set.
  2. Know that when all fractional parts are included, such as three thirds, the result is equal to the whole.

Video Information
Use these questions to guide your thinking about some of the important teacher ideas in the lesson featured in the video clip.
  1. What kinds of questions does the teacher ask to promote students’ problem solving?
  2. How is the teacher gauging students’ current understandings and building from those understandings?
  3. Consider the GPS standards listed with this video.
  4. What makes this lesson different from lessons you have taught on this topic?

Classroom Materials

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