I started asking them questions like:
- How many bugs are on the board?
- How many bugs make up one half?
- How do we know that ____ number of bugs make 1/2?
- How many bugs make up 1/4? 3/4? (Followed by, how do we know?)
- What characteristic on the bug is on 1/2 of them?
- What characteristic is on almost all?
- What fraction represents almost all?
- What characteristics can we put together to equal 1/2? 3/4?
I kept asking questions and listening to their responses. My purpose was to try and figure out how comfortable the class was with benchmark fractions and estimating with fractions. There were some huge differences between my sixth grade groups. Some groups argued with each other about how many bugs made up 3/4 and other groups there were crickets. It was a good eye opener for me about how well they get benchmark fractions and how well they will be able to estimate with fractions.