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:
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. You can check out a set of dividing fractions notes here.
How do you connect the things you love in the classroom?