Paws Along the Trail with Fractions
The Iditarod lends itself to teaching fraction concepts and computation in many ways. For fraction concepts, see the musher drop bags above. The denominator shows the total in a fraction set. The numerator shows which particular bag in the set.
Looking at mushers’ websites and their dog listings/photos, students could create fractions of the males or females in the kennel, two-year olds and older dogs, or blue eyed and brown eyed dogs.
Another fraction idea has to do with fundraising. My team this year wanted the students to apply their knowledge of mixed number/fraction computation AND participate in a community service project. Our idea was for the students to make and sell homemade dog biscuits to raise money to support a rookie musher!
As a culmination of the fraction unit, students were put into groups and asked to complete two tasks:
- Double and halve the dog biscuit recipes using their computation of fractions/mixed numbers skills
- Problem solve, working out pricing, quantity needed to sell, and total projections of money raised
We requested ingredients and assistance from parents, and the donations poured in. On the appointed day, the students measured, mixed, rolled out, and cut dog biscuits. This was the first time many of them had ever done such an activity. Parent volunteers were on hand to help with spills and sticky fingers. Our cafeteria allowed us to use their baking trays and baked the biscuits for us.
The next day, students bagged the biscuits, three to a bag, and stapled on a note. We had advertised dog biscuit sales with flyers around the school and on the morning announcements. Students were assigned to help sell or deliver the biscuits four different mornings before school.
In the end, our project had netted $564.00 to donate, helping sponsor a dog for a rookie musher! The students learned practical skills that go along with fractions and measurement.
I have shared the forms we used with the students: