A Fraction of a Paycheck


Authentic & Meaningful: To ensure authenticity it is important for students to realize that this is in fact an actual real life financial literacy situation in which money comes in and must be aware of where and how much money goes out. It is tapping in to something that all of my students whether ELL , SPED, or General Ed can relate to which is money. It transcends around the world. All students are aware of money and the basics of such, therefore not much preteaching of the amount of money is needed. Linked to Objective: I want students to see that equivalent fractions and comparing fractions is something that is useful beyond the classroom. I want them to be aware that in real world area is something that is a skill that can be used for common things such as money. Promotes Engagement: Students will be engaged as they see this as more of a humanitarian social issue at the beginning, but also the problem solving of determining money.

Lesson Instructions

  1. Ask students if an allowance or a paycheck may look different if they lived in different parts of the world. If they were to receive a $10 dollar allowance what would they spend it on? Show video of students getting to school as a hook to then ask if each child would spend the money differently. Make a quick list of items that money would be spent on. Connect students to thought that if allowance is $10, I am spending 2/4 of the allowance on new clothes. How much money is 2/4? I know that 2/4 is equivalent to ½ and I know that half of $10 is $5. So 2/4 of my allowance is $5. Make the connection to the video that 2/4 of the money each receives could be spent in a variety of ways depending upon where they live.
  2. Student groups will receive a $10 bill and determine how they could break the $10 bill evenly among 4 people. Students will observe $10 placed on a number line, and determine how to break into fourths. I will model a think aloud and quickly demonstrate the process that is being asked of them to complete. This modeling will included the acknowledgement multiple fractions such as 3/10 ($3),  3/5 ($6), ½ ($5) Have student think about the closeness to a whole. When looking at a fraction of 1/5 am I close to a whole or closer to zero?
  3. Tell the students they just finished two weeks of work and they now have their paycheck. The paycheck is $1,000. Explain that rent or housing can be ½ of their paycheck.  Ask how much of the paycheck would go to rent? They will then go to food? Bob is spending 2/8 of his check on food. How much is Bob spending on food?
  4. As students get further in to the breakdown of Bob’s paycheck, students will begin to analyze errors if errors are created as they constantly refer back to the grand total of Bob’s paycheck.  They also will be practicing equivalent fractions as they determine the amount of money spent for each area. They will then practice prior skills to compare the amount of Bob’s paycheck and place them in order.
  5. After Bob’s paycheck is determined, students are able to create a budget based on one of the students in the video if they were given $100 to spend and they can state the different fractions of money used and how much money would be given. Using at least 3 different fractions with different denominators. They will have the ability to choose from either child if time permits, or complete both options. This will benefit my Gifted students who need a lesson of enriched, rigorous problems that require critical thinking and various problem-solving skills. All while looking at problems that would occur in real life as the standard suggests.

Additional Resources for Teacher Training

Handout: Bob spent ½ of his paycheck on rent, 2/8 of his paycheck on food. How much was his total paycheck? _____________How much money did Bob spendon his rent? ____________How much money did Bob spend on his food?_____________What fraction of his paycheck is left for him to pay the rest of his bills? _______How much money is left for Bob to pay his bills?________Bob spent the rest of his paycheck on the following things:3/5= $_______Car payment2/25= $_______Cell phone bill$ ________leftClothes/Fun1/10=$_____Savings Pick either the boy or girl from the video determine what they would spend money on, and what fraction of the $1000 would be spent. /= $_______ /= $_______ /= $_______ /= $_______

Content Objectives

How to create fractions with different numerators and different denominators by comparing them to benchmark fraction

Performance Objectives

Justify what benchmark fraction got me to the fraction I chose

Key Concepts/Vocabulary

Language Objective: Students will be able to use models, fraction strips, and visuals to demonstrate understanding of fractions and the critical thinking used to solve the problem. a.Students will use academic language to describe equivalent fractions.b.Students will use academic language to compare fractions.c.Students will use academic language to explain their mathematical reasoning.

Modifications/Accommodations for Struggling Students

Accomodations/Modifications: This lesson is designed to enhance the specific accommodations and modifications already in place for my students with IEP’s. I have two students that requires the presentation to be presented in short 1-2 step instructions along with repeated instructions if necessary. I will be presenting the task in minimal steps and then ensuring each child is equipped with manipulatives and samples created on the board for reference. These students are also asked to be given multisensory presentations and they will have a variety of visuals to use to compare to. I will assist both of them with models and beginnings of number lines to build off of. I will give both of them immediate feedback as they begin the process along with my other lower achieving students. And then as the process continues, I will check back in for frequent feedback and checking for understanding. This will be something throughout the lesson that I will do with both of my SPED students, as well as my lower students, and ELL students. I also have 1 Gifted in Math student that I will be focusing on throughout this lesson to ensure that her goal of Problem Solving is met.For my ELL students I have scaffolded the lesson as well-placed step by step directions on the assignment page so that students are able to follow and solve clearly.

Student Self-Assessment

Students will be asked to share whithin their group” Why did you do it that way? How can you use what you have learned today?


  • Bob’s Paycheck handout
  • fraction manipulatives- fraction strips, foldables
  • Blank Piece of Paper
  • Play money
  • pencil
  • Initial getting to school video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bWVAEU6SQc
  • Where does the money go? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MeZvhQyTe4

Lesson Duration

60 minute lesson


Middle of year, December at conclusion of initial fractions topic.Students have been studying fractions. Lessons have been taught regarding equivalent fractions as well as comparing fractions based in benchmark fractions. Students have basic knowlede from unit fractions being taught in 3rd grade. Students have also been taught various fraction modeling strategies with the creation of fraction strips, and paper folding. The topic scale of both complex learning goals as well as the two simple learning goals has been completed and this is a culmination activity to check for understanding and deepen problem solving in real world fractions. I often do not get the chance to do a further enrichment activity that requires the struggle to get to a deeper understanding. This will allow for stuggle and hard mathmatical conversations.


  • Math


  • Common Core Math

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Other/Alternative Standard(s)

  • 4.NF1. Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n × a)/(n × b) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size. Use this principle to recognize and generate equivalent fractions.
 4.NF2. Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

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