Citrus Fractions Math Activity

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This fun project combines both math and art and can be used to teach students how we use fractions in our everyday lives. I found this idea at my daughter's school art fair!

We often think of pizza or cookies when introducing students to real life examples of fractions, but what about citrus fruits?

This project is a great way to get students minds thinking about fractions!

Using monochromatic colors, students will create a citrus art project. 

Monochromatic colors are all the colors (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue. Students could choose from a wide variety of citrus fruit to create this beautiful project. Green, yellow, orange, and pink would all be great colors!

Items needed:

-White paper

-Oil Pastels or crayons/markers/colored pencils

-Ruler

-Pencil

-Compass or circle cut out to trace

To begin, ask your students to choose a citrus fruit they would like to create. Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are all great choices. Next, ask the students what fraction they want to represent. If you are just introducing fractions, you will want to give them a few choices on the board such as 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2. If they are not new to fractions and have a firm grasp of the concept, allow them to choose their own. They might come up with something that surprises you like 3/8 or 4/6. You could also assign fractions to students if you are working on a specific fraction set.


Using blank white paper, you will ask the students to draw their name and the fraction they want to represent on the back of the paper. 

If your school has Oil Pastels, this is a fantastic medium as it would make the final project bright and allow the different hues to stand out. 

Ask students to use a compass to create their citrus fruit. If students do not have access to a compass, you can always use a large circle made from cardstock for them to trace. Using a pencil and a ruler, students will draw lines to make the appropriate number of sections to reflect their fraction. For 2/4, students will need to create 4 equal sections. For 3/6, students will need to create 6 equal sections, etc.

After the citrus has been drawn, students will color the citrus to reflect their fraction. Instruct the student that they will be using monochromatic shades of the same color, but that the fraction sections must be the darkest of hues. For example, if their fraction is 3/8 of a lime, 3 of the 8 sections should match and be the darkest shade of green and the other 5 sections should be lighter shades of green. If you really want the fractions to pop, have the students go over the citrus divider lines with a black oil pastel after coloring in the sections.

Each student's project will look so different and all the fantastic colors would look great hanging on your bulletin board!

Do you have some fun ideas on how to combine art and math? We would love to hear your great ideas!