What are some effective ways to teach equivalent fractions? I'm tutoring a group of fourth graders and would love to have some ideas from the teachers here. Thank you.

The way we teach is to show students that you can take a fraction and multiply the numerator and denominator by the same number, and viola! You have an equivalent fraction. Also, have the students do a lot of work comparing them to see if they are indeed equivalent. You can use visuals too to help them see. For example 4/8 and 1/2. Don't know if that helps any, but there you go!

Start with some tangible/visual examples. A couple things I did way back when during student teaching was going out to the 4-square court and asking them to describe what one of the four squares would represent in terms of a fraction (1/4), shading it in. I then asked them to split each square in half, and see what that square now represents (2 out of 8 equal pieces, 2/8), noting that they just doubled the number of pieces and number of pieces that are shaded (which gives the tangible understanding of why "multiplying the num/denom" works). We then took that and slowly worked towards that abstract concept that Luv mentioned in class.

When I teach equivalent fractions, I explain that they are multiplying the fraction by 1- we call it the Big Red one, and I draw a large 1 in red around the fraction that equals 1. (ex. 2/2) Most of my kids understand that any number multiplied by 1 is the same number, and we discuss that it is the same for fractions. The exception is that size of the fraction piece changes.

Pattern blocks can be helpful in the beginning for a visual. The yellow hexagon is the whole. The red trapezoid is a half. The blue rhombus is a third. The green triangles are a sixth. The kids can stack them on top of each other to figure out which fractions are equivalent.

Ever try fraction strips? They visually demonstrate fractions from 1 to 1/12 in a stacked layout. You can do a lot w/them, like comparing fractions too.