My husband is a HUGE disco music lover, so I guess you could say he was the inspiration behind my Disco Dancing Fraction lesson. You see a few years ago while trying to teach my students how to compare fractions, I realized that I had to try another strategy because my kiddos were just not getting it. We had tried numerous methods already. We had used fraction bars, learned about benchmark numbers, tried comparing the missing pieces of fractions and still nothing seemed to work. I even created an anchor chart for comparing fractions that I use with my students. (If you’d like to download it for FREE just click on the picture below.)
So when I realized my student’s weren’t getting it I decided to try teaching them a trick… cross multiplication. Now I know that many people don’t agree with cross multiplication as a method of comparing fractions, but remember I had already attempted numerous strategies beforehand so I figured why not.
That’s how Disco Dancing with Fractions came to be in my classroom. The second I told my students that we were going to get down and dance in math class I had their attention and I knew it was going to be a good day. So with Donna Summers playing in the background, we learned some disco moves… with our fingers pointed, we pointed to the bottom left, then up to the right, next with our left hands to the bottom right and up to the left… we danced just like John Travolta did in Saturday Night Fever (LOL)!
Then I showed them how to disco with fractions. My students LOVED it and this method stuck like glue. I remember giggling from my desk as I watched my students Disco Dance from their seats as they compared fractions on their own or during tests. It was FANTASTIC! They were now experts at comparing fractions. Who knew that you could disco in math class?
So from that day on, I’ve been using Disco Dancing with my 3rd graders and many of them that have come back to visit me have told me that they have never forgotten our Disco Dancing lesson…woot woot!
Now remember, Disco Dancing is the LAST strategy I teach my students. It’s kind of like the grand finale! I teach all of the strategies listed on my Anchor Chart first and we spend quite a few days learning those strategies before any dancing goes on. But give it a try with your class and let me know how it goes. I guarantee you that your students will NEVER forget the day they Disco Danced with Fractions!