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Fractions Lesson Plan

Author: Jana Shumway

Year: 2015

Artform: Dance

Subjects: Math

Grade: 5th

Duration: 45 minutes

Overview: Fourth grade students will learn about fractions through dance improvisations and choreographic assignments.

Standards and Objectives

The student will identify and demonstrate movement elements (time, space, energy and motion) in performing dance.

The student will improvise, create, perform, and respond to movement solutions in the art form of dance.
Gain familiarity with factors and multiples.

Extend understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering.
Fourth grade students will better understand fractions as they choreograph dances that require dividing their group into particular fractions for particular movement.



Place 8 colors of blocks together in a row.


Assign one color to each child. Try to keep the groups equal. (Due to the number of students in your class, the groups might not be equal. You can have some children represent 2 children if necessary so each group will have an equal amount). Have all the students create a shape in their own space. Now just play with fractions by using the students in the class. Give the following commands:

  1. All the greens and yellows (or 1/4 of the class) create a low shape. All the reds and grays (or 1/4 of the class) create a high shape. All the oranges, pinks, purples and blues (1/2 of the class) dance in the negative space of the other colors.
  1. Green, yellow, orange and pink create arching shape. What fraction of the class is in that shape? (1/2) Purple, blue, red, and gray dance under and around the arches. How many are dancing? (1/2)
  1. With your hand or a black piece of paper, cover up 3/4 of the colors and have 1/4 dance. Have the other colors (3/4) create a shape in-between the dancers.
  2. Only orange (or 1/8) of the class make a symmetrical shape in the middle of the room. The other 7/8th of the class can add on to the shape and keep it symmetrical.
  3. Explain numerator and denominator. (See “Vocabulary” below). Have the reds and grays dance at a high level (1/4 or 2/8). They represent the “1” or “2” or the numerator. Everyone else is frozen in a shape. When you call out “denominator” EVERY color dances at a low level (because the denominator represents the total number and is on the bottom of the fraction. Try giving new commands to new “numerators” which always dance at a high level (but vary it . . . so they can stretch at a high level, makes shapes on a high level, wiggle at a high level, leap at a high level, etc). Then every time you call out “denominator” EVERYONE dances at a low level. (Again vary it . . . so they can roll at a low level, move percussive at a low level, slide at a low level, move backwards on a low level, etc. )

Make up more commands and have the students tell you what fraction of the class is participating in what ways. The students can also help you come up with ideas.



Choreograph / Perform

Now have the students divide into groups and choreograph the following “Fraction Dances”.

Fraction Dance 1

  • Whole group turns 3 times then freezes in a shape.
  • 3/4 goes in a low shape on the ground while the other 1/4 dances around or leaps over them.
  • 1/2 makes a shape while the other 1/2 moves through their negative space.
  • Whole group gallops in circular patterns.
  • 3/4 melt to the ground while the other 1/4 explodes 2 times.
  • Whole group floats to one wall and freezes in a shape against the wall. 1/4 skip to a circle and creates a pyramid. After they’re done, another 1/4 skips to a new circle and creates a shape with legs connected in the air. The last 1/2 skips around the 2 shapes.
  • Whole group slithers close together to create a low shape.

Fraction Dance 2

  • Whole group jumps down a zigzag pathway then freezes up-side-down.
  • 1/8 moves sustained while 7/8 stays up-side-down.
  • Whole group slides to a new spot. Then 1/4 dances on a low level, 1/4 dances on a medium level and 1/2 dances on a high level.
  • Whole group freezes in a shape, but stays on their same level from the previous section.
  • 1/2 leaves the shape and dances while turning around the rest of the shape with levels.
  • Whole group slides away from the placement of the shape. 1/4 gallop back to the location of the previous shape and connects to create a twisted shape. 3/4 hold hands and slides around the twisted shape. Whole group explodes and collapses.

Perform the dances for the rest of the class.



Start to point out fractions around the school. How many classes are down the main hall verses how many classes are in the back hall? How many students go to first lunch? How many students go to recess at the same time? Out of everyone who comes to the school, how many are teachers?

You could also go on a fractions scavenger hunt. The students could even create it for other students.

Remember that a fraction represents a part of a whole. The numerator represents how many parts of that whole are being considered, while the denominator represents the total number of parts created from the whole.
Adjust the dance as needed for individual student needs.
  • A fraction is a numerical quantity that is not a whole number (e.g. 1/2 or 0.5).
  • What is a numerator? It shows how many portion(s) of the whole is taken. It’s the number on top.
  • What is denominator? It shows how many parts are there in the whole. It’s the number on bottom.
While the kids are dancing watch to see if they are understanding the concepts. If not, sidecoach them to help them understand.

You can have a discussion or quiz at the end of the lesson; or have the students share what they learned with a partner and then report to another group of students or to you as to what they learned.

They can also demonstrate their understanding through choreographic assignments (but be sure the objectives are clear for the assignment and then make sure they meet those objectives).


  • 8 pieces of different colored blocked placed side by side each other
  • Print out the fraction dances