My students are now half way through the chapter on fractions. They seem confident in performing the different operations, but a few are still unsure of how to reduce fractions.

Although I have stressed learning the Divisibility Rules for 2, 5, 10, and the digital root for 3, 6, 9,

On the right are the directions for making the Pattern Sticks using a multiplication chart.

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*(September 21st posting)*some still have difficulty since they do not know their multiplication tables. This week we made**Pattern Sticks**, a visual and kinesthetic aid, similar to a multiplication chart like the one on the left. Notice that an extra column (blue) has been added to the chart. (In this space, a hole is punched so that a 1" ring can be inserted to store all of the sticks in one place.) .On the right are the directions for making the Pattern Sticks using a multiplication chart.

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__Side note:__My students cut out individual Pattern Sticks which I prefer over cutting a multiplication chart apart. If you are intetested in these, see the link under the scary fingers.)I then gave the students fractions such as 9/36 to reduce. Using the Pattern Sticks, they looked for a

**where a 9 and a 36 were lined up in the same one. They easily found it on the 1 strip and the 4 strip. They then took the two strips and lined up the two so that the 9 was over the 36. (see illustration above) By going to the left, they discovered that 9/36 is the same as 1/4. This is 9/36 in its lowest terms. Also notice that all the fractions in the illustration above are equivalent fractions:**__column__*fractions that have the same value*. We also used the Pattern Sticks to determine what number to divide by and to change improper fractions to mixed numbers.**! For some reason, when wearing the fingers, students tend to actually point and follow along when skip counting. (If you like this idea, be sure that each student uses the**

*Awesome Fingers of Math***finger every time to avoid germs, etc. Keeping it in a zip lock bag with the child’s name on the bag worked best for me. Believe it or not, when I taught middle school, the students would paint and decorate the fingernails!)**

__same__If you are interested in learning more about Pattern Sticks and how to use them in your classroom, check out the resource entitled

**Pattern Sticks: A Math Tool for Skip Counting & Reducing Fractions**at

*Teachers Pay Teachers*. Just click on the link under the scary fingers.