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3D Vertical Fraction Strips

Class Time: 15 minutes
3D Vertical Fraction Strips

This manipulative is a 3D version of fraction strips. Each strip is a rectangular piece that will slide onto one of the three vertical pegs so that the fraction strips can stack vertically (rather than lining up horizontally) and represent the value of a fraction in terms of height. The fractions are mounted on one platform with the 1 (whole) always visible so that the student can begin to grasp how all the fractional parts are related to the whole. Each fraction strip is labeled with its fraction name, but only on one side so that they can be made either visible to or hidden from students as they problem solve.

Big Idea

Fraction representations, Fraction comparison, Equivalent fractions, Addition and Subtraction of Fractions


This tool was designed to help students develop fraction sense using visualizations and manipulations of fraction quantities. In particular, the tool is useful for helping students make sense of the symbolic representation of a fraction by connecting it to its physical representation.

Sample Tasks and Explorations:

  1. Jack and his two friends each had the same size pizzas for lunch. Jack ate 5/8 of his pizza. Judy ate 2/3 of her pizza. And Sam ate 3/6 of his pizzas. Who ate the most amount of pizza? Who ate the least?
  2. Gigi has one chocolate bar. She split it between herself, her mother, and her sister. If she got half of the bar and her mother and sister got the same amount, what fraction of the chocolate bar did her mother and sister each receive? How many times larger is Gigi’s piece than her mother’s?
  3. Use the fraction pieces to find three different ways to form a whole (i.e., completely and precisely filling one pedestal). Then write number sentences using the symbolic representations of each fraction to show that the sum of the fractions in each whole stack is equal to 1.