EL Support Lesson

Equal Shares

Provide students with an opportunity to identify the wholes that are correctly divided into halves, thirds, and fourths (equal shares). Use this activity alone as a support lesson or alongside Cookie Fractions Fun.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theCookie Fractions Fun!Lesson plan.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theCookie Fractions Fun!Lesson plan.

Students will be able to identify and describe fractions.


Students will be able to compare and contrast examples and non-examples of equal shares with grade-level academic language using discussions and already partioned parts of wholes.

(3 minutes)
Identify the Equal SharesVocabulary Cards: Equal SharesGlossary: Equal SharesTeach Background Knowledge TemplateWrite Student-Facing Language Objectives Reference
  • Gather students together and pass out whiteboards and whiteboard markers to each student.
  • Say, "I want you to draw one half of a pizza for me." Don't provide any other clues or directions. Wait a moment, and ask students to hold up their whiteboards so the rest of the class can see.
  • Allow a few students to share out their drawings and justify how they knew how to draw one half. Provide sentence stems to support students as they share out their ideas. For example:
    • I know this is one half because ____.
  • Explain to the students that today they will compare and contrast examples and non-examples of EqualShares. Break down the language objective in student-friendly terms by saying, "This means that we are going to compare and contrast examples and non-examples of shapes that are equally cut or split apart and shapes that are not equally cut or split apart."
  • Ask students to think-pair-share the language objective in their own words with an elbow partner.
(5 minutes)
  • Put the students into small groups.
  • Project the Vocabulary Cards worksheet on the whiteboard. Cover the visuals and definitions and only display the vocabulary word. Call on students to read aloud the words and share what they know about the words before displaying the definitions and visuals. Provide additional examples and invite students to share their ideas. Jot their ideas down on the whiteboard.
  • Provide sentence stems to support their sharing out, such as:
    • An example of a ____(whole/half/fourth) is ____.
  • Pass out one set of the Vocabulary Cards to each group. Ask students to refer to the visuals on the Vocabulary Cards and explain how they relate to the definition. Ask students to explain how the visual helps them understand each vocabulary word. Provide sentence stems, for example:
    • The visual helps me understand ____(word) because ____.
(8 minutes)
  • Put students in partnerships and project Part 1 from the Identify the Equal Shares worksheet on the whiteboard. Pass out copies of the Identify the Equal Shares worksheet to each student. Read through the directions and define difficult words using student-friendly language (e.g. equal shares, divided, reasoning).
  • Ask students to explain the directions in their own words to an elbow partner prior to moving on to Part 1.
  • Think aloud by talking through thinking about equal shares while solving the first question in Part 1. Model detailing steps and describing and justifying reasoning.
  • Say, "I see that this shape here (point to the partitioned square) is a square. It is Partitioned, or split, into two parts. I'm looking carefully at both parts, and in my opinion, the two parts look exactly the same. Turn and talk to your partner and explain whether you agree or disagree that the two parts look the same." Provide a sentence frame to help students share their ideas, such as:
    • The two parts look the same because ____.
    • The two parts don't look the same because ____.
  • Clarify any misconceptions and guide students in elaborating their thinking.
  • Continue the think-aloud by saying, "Now that we have confirmed that this square is split into equal shares, or parts, I will justify my reasoning by explaining that if this square represents a cake, I don't care which piece I get because they are the same amount!"
  • Complete the sentence frames in the right column under the heading "Reasoning." Read aloud your answer as you fill it in on the worksheet. Your answer should read:
    • I know this is divided into equal shares because both parts of the square are the same amount.
  • Point to the second question which shows a partitioned circle. Ask a student to come up to the whiteboard to help you figure out whether or not the circle is divided into equal shares. Guide the students to detail their process aloud, following the steps you modeled previously.
  • Have students complete the last question together with their partner. Allow one or two partnerships to share out their answers with the class prior to moving on to Part 2.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the vocabulary word ThirdWith students. Draw a few examples of shapes split into thirds (with equal and non-equal shares) and allow a few students to draw examples, as well. Discuss which shapes are divided into equal shares.
  • Instruct students to complete Part 2 of their worksheet with their partnerships.
  • Rotate around the classroom and observe students as they complete their work. Listen to student conversations and revoice student ideas to model mathematical language used by restating a statement as a question in order to clarify, apply appropriate language, and involve both partners. Prompting questions include:
    • How do you know the shape is/isn't split into equal parts?
    • Do you agree or disagree with your partner? Is there anything you would like to add?
    • If you gave your friends a piece of the whole, would they have a fair share?
    • Which piece would you like to eat and why?


  • Provide students with a bilingual glossary with important vocabulary words from the lesson in English and their home language (L1).
  • Provide a visual of a pizza to support student understanding of context.
  • Provide pre-cut visuals of shapes partitioned into halves, thirds, and fourths for students to show the class during explicit instruction.
  • Allow students to work with bilingual peers or sympathetic non-EL students during group work.
  • Have students work in a small, teacher-led group during the assessment activity. Encourage students to use gestures, words, and phrases in both English and L1 to detail their reasoning.


  • Encourage students to share out without referring to the sentence stems/frames for support.
  • Ask students to turn over their worksheets during assessment and draw their own examples of shapes partitioned into equal and non-equal amounts.
  • Challenge students to rephrase definitions during closing in their own words.
(8 minutes)
  • Review the vocabulary word FourthWith students. Draw a few examples of shapes split into fourths (with equal and non-equal shares) and allow a few students to draw examples, as well. Discuss which shapes are divided into equal shares.
  • Have students complete Part 3 of their worksheet independently.
  • Use the same prompting questions as listed above to help students justify their ideas.
  • Collect student worksheets and use them to assess student understanding of equal shares.
(6 minutes)
  • Gather students together and bring out the Vocabulary Cards worksheet.
  • Read each definition from the Vocabulary Cards aloud once or twice. Next, challenge students to say the related vocabulary word chorally as a whole class (e.g. Say, "Cutting or splitting an amount equally," and have students respond with "partition").

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