When a whole is broken into equal parts each part is a fraction. Each part of this fraction is one-half. Your child will draw tape diagrams as a visual tool to help him break apart one whole. In third grade, your child will break one whole into two equal parts, three equal parts, four equal parts, six equal parts, and eight equal parts.
Let’s solve a third grade word problem: Braydon had pizza for lunch. He ate one-forth of it and left the rest in the box. Draw a tape diagram of Braydon’s pizza.
Your child will draw a picture like this to model the whole. He knows to break it into four equal parts. Each part is one-fourth of one whole. Then he will be asked to shade the part Braydon left in the box. Braydon ate one-fourth, so these three parts are left in the box.
Last, your child will be asked to draw a number bond that matches what you drew. At first, he will show his understanding like this. Later, he will understand this.
Practice drawing fractions as tape diagrams and number bonds and, viola! Understanding fractions will be a piece of… pizza!
And that is good to know.