Sunday, April 10, 2016

How Harry Potter Helped with Dividing Fractions

Yes, you read that right.  Harry Potter helped my students understand how to divide fractions.  How?  Read on and I will explain.

Multiplying fractions was one of the easiest things for my students to grasp this year.  Not surprising, really.  If you can multiply numbers, you can multiply fractions.  I figured that dividing fractions would be just as easy.  Yeah, no.

My students understood the concept of dividing fractions.  They even understood why the reciprocal is used.  But, they couldn't remember to actually DO IT!  So, they would solve the problem by multiplying the original equation without the reciprocal.  Wrong answers all over the place.



Here is where Harry Potter saved the day.  (To be honest the credit should really go to Hermione Granger, but I digress.)  I am a huge Harry Potter geek.  My students know it and have come to love the series as much as I do.  But, I never thought it would help my math instruction until I remembered the scene where Harry and Ron (along with everyone else) were trying to levitate the feather.  The spell was Wingardium Leviosa, but that part I was thinking about was the wand movement.  Swish and flick!

Swish and flick!  Immediately I thought Switch and flip.  Do you see the beauty?  During my next math lesson I asked my class if they remembered that scene and had them think about how it could relate to math class.  I was rewarded with some excited talking and they came up with the spell name and the wrist movement.  They weren't quite sure how it related to our math lesson.  "Let's practice," I said.  I had them grab their pencils like a wand and while swishing in the air repeat after me: 
When you want to divide fractions
you must switch and flip! Switch and flip!

They loved it!  We created an anchor chart and they copied some notes into their Math Notebooks.  There was much laughter during the lesson and more than a few students were overheard whispering, "Switch and flip!" while completing their work.



I love teaching math and I LOVE Harry Potter.  Blending them together in one lesson was awesome.

Check out the links below to see some other math misconceptions that a few of my blogger friends have experienced in their classrooms.





11 comments:

  1. LOVE this! We do "Keep Change Flip" or KCF and my students ALWAYS switch it to KFC! Then they talk about fried chicken and then they Keep Flip Change instead and it makes no sense. Ack. Switch and Flip is so much better!! Thank you!!

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    1. I am so glad that you liked it. I watched my kids swish away during our math test today. :)

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  2. Some really great ideas!!! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome! I am so sorry that this response didn't post earlier.

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  3. Love all of the other resources al in one place! Thanks!!

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  4. The Swish and Flick is genius!! My HP obsessed daughter had such a hard time with fractions, and she would have loved this. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I am glad to know that I am not the only HP obsessed person out there. :)

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  5. Kim - you are so clever! Such great ideas!~ Thank you!
    Vicky
    Teaching and Much Moore

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  6. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing some clever ideas!

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  7. Thank you Vicky1970 and Tidy Teacher for your kind words!

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