Activity Overview

Operating on mixed numbers combines students’ knowledge of addition and subtraction, converting wholes to fractions, converting mixed numbers to improper fractions, and regrouping. In this activity, students will practice adding and subtracting mixed numbers using visuals to aid their computations.

Adding mixed numbers may look a little daunting at first, but if you break down the mixed numbers into wholes and fractions, into pictures, or into improper fractions, everything starts to come together.

Be careful with subtraction! Students may rewrite the order of the number sentence or regroup incorrectly. Start with pictures, like the fraction circles available on Storyboard That. An interesting exercise would be to have an open discussion about subtracting mixed numbers before teaching it, but use your best judgment with your group of students. It may be better to teach mixed number subtraction explicitly before any misconceptions or bad habits start forming.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create visuals to help you add and subtract mixed numbers.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Put the equation in the middle box of the spider map.
  3. Label the cell titles "Add Wholes and Fractions", "Picture Model", and "Convert to Improper".
  4. Demonstrate each way to add or subtract mixed numbers using appropriate numbers and visuals.
  5. Save and submit your storyboard.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-5

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual

More Storyboard That Activities

Advanced Fractions

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