Students start to operate on fractions, learning how to add fractions with like denominators and multiply a whole number by any fraction.
Math
Unit 5
4th Grade
In this unit, 4th grade students begin their work with operating with fractions by understanding them as a sum of unit fractions or a product of a whole number and a unit fraction. Students will then add and subtract fractions with like denominators and multiply a whole number by a fraction, including mixed numbers. Students will apply this knowledge to word problems and line plots.
In 3rd Grade Math, students developed their understanding of the meaning of fractions, especially using the number line to make sense of fractions as numbers themselves. They also did some rudimentary work with equivalent fractions and comparison of fractions. In Unit 4, 4th grade students deepened this understanding of equivalence and comparison, learning the fundamental property that “multiplying the numerator and denominator of a fraction by the same non-zero whole number results in a fraction that represents the same number as the original fraction” (NF Progression, p. 6).
Thus, in this unit, armed with a deep understanding of fractions and their value, students start to operate on them for the first time. The unit is structured so that students build their understanding of fraction operations gradually, first working with the simplest case where the total is a fraction less than 1, then the case where the total is a fraction between 1 and 2 (to understand regrouping when operating in simple cases), and finally the case where the total is a fraction greater than 2. With each of these numerical cases, they first develop an understanding of non-unit fractions as sums and multiples of unit fractions. Next, they learn to add and subtract fractions. And finally, they apply these understandings to complex cases, such as word problems or fraction addition involving fractions where one denominator is a multiple of the other, which helps prepare students for similar work with decimal fractions in Unit 6. After working with all three numerical cases in the context of fraction addition and subtraction, they work with fraction multiplication, learning methods for multiplying a whole number by a fraction and a mixed number and using those skills in the context of word problems. Finally, students apply this unit’s work to the context of line plots. Students will solve problems by using information presented in line plots, requiring them to use their recently acquired skills of fraction addition, subtraction, and even multiplication, creating a contextual way for this supporting cluster content to support the major work of the grade. The unit provides lots of opportunity for students to reason abstractly and quantitatively (MP.2) and construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others (MP.3).
Students’ understanding of fractions is developed further in Unit 6, in which students explore decimal numbers via their relationship to decimal fractions, expressing a given quantity in both fraction and decimal forms (4.NF.5—7). Then, in 5th grade, students extend their understanding and ability with operations with fractions (5.NF.1—7), working with all cases of fraction addition, subtraction, and multiplication and the simple cases of division of a unit fraction by a whole number or vice versa. Students then develop a comprehensive understanding of and ability to compute fraction division problems in all cases in 6th grade (6.NS.1). Beyond these next few units and years, it is easy to find the application of this learning in nearly any mathematical subject in middle school and high school, from ratios and proportions in the middle grades to functional understanding in algebra.
Pacing: 25 instructional days (21 lessons, 2 flex days, 1 assessment day)
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The following assessments accompany Unit 5.
Have students complete the Pre-Unit Assessment and Pre-Unit Student Self-Assessment before starting the unit. Use the Pre-Unit Assessment Analysis Guide to identify gaps in foundational understanding and map out a plan for learning acceleration throughout the unit.
Have students complete the Mid-Unit Assessment after lesson 11.
Use the resources below to assess student understanding of the unit content and action plan for future units.
Before you teach this unit, unpack the standards, big ideas, and connections to prior and future content through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.
number line |
Example: Use a number line to solve $$1\frac{1}{3}-\frac{2}{3}$$ |
tape diagram |
Example: Use a tape diagram to solve $$2\times \frac{3}{10}$$ |
line plot |
fraction greater than one
mixed number
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 5, view our 4th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Topic A: Building, Adding, and Subtracting Fractions Less Than or Equal to 1
Topic B: Building, Adding, and Subtracting Fractions Less Than 2
Topic C: Building, Adding, and Subtracting Fractions Greater Than or Equal to 2
Topic D: Multiplication of Fractions
Topic E: Line Plots
Key
Major Cluster
Supporting Cluster
Additional Cluster
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1 — Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP2 — Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP3 — Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4 — Model with mathematics.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP5 — Use appropriate tools strategically.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP6 — Attend to precision.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP7 — Look for and make use of structure.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP8 — Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.
Unit 4
Fraction Equivalence and Ordering
Unit 6
Decimal Fractions
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