Th numbers


In this activity students learn that the code in English for fraction is that the words end in -“th”

Achievement Objectives
NA2-5: Know simple fractions in everyday use.
Specific Learning Outcomes

realise that the meaning of fraction words one "x-th" is that it is the name for a share when one whole object or number is split into "x" equal pieces.

Required Resource Materials
Multilink cubes or counters
  1. With multilink cubes or other material the teacher models a packet of sweets with 5 white sweets and 1 black sweet. 


  2. The teacher tells students that 1 part of the total of six is black so the packet is one sixth black. Special emphasis on the “th” sound is desirable so the students can start to learn the fraction code using ”-x ths”.
  3. Students make their own packet with 6 white and 1 black. ie this time the packet has seven sweets so the name of the black sweet has changed to 1 seventh. Writing down the name in words is useful.
  4. Students make a packet of eight sweets with 6 white and 2 blacks , then name and write the fraction white as 6 eighths and the fraction black as 2 eighths.
  5. Students continue to build packet size to twelve (which provides the opportunity to realise that English has habit a habit of mixing up f and v in number works. Eg half and halve. This habit continues when twelve has its “f” changed to “v” in the fraction word twelfths.)
  6. Students now remove one block at a time until six is arrived at naming the fractions of each colour as they go.
  7. Now the fractions produced become from a five packet a five “ fiveths”, a four packet fourths, a three packet “threeths” and a two packet “twoths”. Care is required to link these sensible systematic names to their inexplicable standard names in English: fifths, quarters, thirds and halves.

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