Author Archive for Sarah M

Third Grade Fractions

This blog post addresses books, websites and additional resources that align with the third grade standard of learning 3.3. In this SOL, students should learn how to divide up objects and sets to represent fractions and mixed numbers and write the names of fractions and mixed numbers. Additionally, students should compare fractions using the greater than, less than or equal to signs. Many of the books on fractions are intended as a review, or an introduction to a fraction lesson, while the additional resources and websites tend to be more complex and focus on more difficult fractions. Books 


Apple Fractions

By Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

Apple Fractions introduces students to the world of fractions through a simple visual tool, the apple. This book discusses fractions based around dividing an apple up into eight parts. It uses and mentions specific apple types (like Golden Delicious and GrannySmith) in its realistic illustrations. This book is a simple way for students to understand beginning fractions like 1/2, 1/4, 1/6 and so on.


The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar Fraction Book

By Jerry Pallotta and Illustrated by Rob Bolster

This book, written and illustrated by the same people who brought you Apple Fractions, uses a Hershey’s chocolate bar as a template for learning fractions. Hershey’s bars make for an easy fractions lesson because they come already divided up into 12 parts. This book compares various twelfths to the whole bar and even introduces beginning fraction adding and subtracting. This book would be a great resources for a classroom because, like the Apple Fractions book, this book could easily turn into a classroom activity using the same manipulative that the book uses (a candy bar, or an apple).


Eating Fractions

By Bruce McMillan

Eating Fractions takes the concept of using food to discuss fractions a step further in that it uses a variety of different foods that students could encounter throughout the day. This book is unique in that it is a departure from the standard pizza or pie fraction model and instead uses foods like corn, bananas and other non-standard fraction shapes. Through his photographs, McMillan demonstrates halves, thirds and fourths in a simple, fun and easy to understand layout and storyline.


Fraction Action

By Loreen Leedy

Fraction Action describes a teacher teaching her classroom about introductory fractions. Students learn about basic fractions like 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 using drawings of pies and pizzas, but the unique thing about this book is that it also addresses part of a set fractions. Students learn along with the class of children (animals) in Fraction Action which combines humor, a few do it yourself problems and fun illustrations to explain basic fractions.


Fraction Fun

By David A. Adler and Illustrated by Nancy Tobin

Fraction Fun is more explanatory than most fraction books. It provides an easy to understand definition of fractions and explains it using the typical pizza explanation, but diverts from that visual by also discussing coins and their fractional values in terms of weight and monetary value. This book is therefore intended for an older audience who would have some knowledge of weights and money, but could easily be understood, and enjoyed, by most third graders because of the simple explanations and fun illustrations.


Mrs. Thonus’ Third Grade Stars- Fraction Fun

This website, designed and produced by a third grade teacher, provides fun websites and activities for students who are learning about fractions. She provides a link to a powerpoint about fractions and links to some online fraction games. These links cover a range of fraction topics such as identifying and naming fractions, comparing fractions and beginning adding fractions. This websites is very clear and easy to navigate and would be perfect for students looking for fraction activities to do online.

Fractions by Zeebo

Zeebo is a little circle fraction drawing who explains fractions to students through his website.  This website includes sections like “fractions, what are they?”, “fractions, mixed numbers”, “fractions, equivalent fractions” and many more sections icnreasing in difficulty. The first section, “fractions, what are they?” would be best for most third grade students, but the varying levels of difficulty on this site would be a good tool for differentiation. In the different sections Zeebo uses simple geometric graphics to explain the topic and asks students comprehension questions about the information that he has presented. This site is easy to navigate and provides excellent explanations of a sometimes tricky topic.

Kids Konnect Fractions

This website provides links to a plethora of fraction information and games. Topics on the site include fractions tutorials, Egyptian fractions, fraction games about pizza, soccer, shapes, cookies and much more. For older or more advanced students, the site has information on comparing and changing fractions to decimals. This website would be an excellent classroom resource because there are so many activities and online lessons for students to explore all from one centralized site. This site may be overwhelming though, so any student navigation of this site should be teacher led and guided.

Kids Online Resources- Fractions

This website is more of an online activity than an informational site. Students click on subsections like “what is a fraction?”, “fraction practice” and “equivalent fractions”. This website goes into more difficult fractions like fifths and sixths, in addition to the basic halves thirds and fourths. Students can do a tutorial about fractions and then practice their knowledge through an exploration of equivalent geometric shapes. This site uses bright colors, sounds and moving shapes to make learning about fractions interactive and fun.

BBC Bitesize Fractions

This website, produced by the BBC, explains the concept of a fraction through words, pictures and numbers. It discusses equivalent fractions, converting fractions to decimals (for the older students), comparing fractions and improper and mixed fractions. There is also a fraction game that asks students to compare fractions with different denominators by ordering them in size, a game where students can create and play with making their own fractions of a cylinder, and a fractions quiz where students can test what they have just learned.

Additional Resources

Vector Kids Fractions

This game asks students to name the fraction represented by a piece of pie. This game is a fun way for students to practice naming fractions; it provides supports and scaffolds for students who may need extra help by providing a simple picture and by giving students the total number of pieces to keep students from having to do too much counting and possibly getting confused.


Funny and Fabulous Fraction Stories

By Dan Greenburg and Jared Lee

This book uses humorous stories to introduce students to identifying and manipulating fractions. Some of the material in this book may be too complex for third grade students, such as the stories about changing fractions to decimals, adding, subtracting and dividing fractions and ratios of fractions. Many of the stories, however, are basic enough to be good for reinforcing students’ comfort with fractions. This book is a great way to learn across the curriculum since it combines funny and entertaining stories with math problems that students can do individually or as a class.


Pizza Fraction Fun Game

By Learning Resources

This kit comes with cardboard pizzas cut into slices to use as manipulatives in a variety of provided games designed to get kids to create fractions, compare equivalent fractions and beginning adding fractions.  The pizzas are realistic and the games are easily adaptable for a many skill and grade levels so that this resource can be used over and over again as students learn more about fractions.

Shepherd Software Matching FractionsThis game asks students to match a written fraction with a picture and vice versa. It gets students to practice both naming and identifying fractions. The levels go up in difficulty from basic fractions like 1/2 and 1/5 to more difficult fractions like 7/8 to mixed fractions like 2 1/2. The simple graphics and clear directions make this a good activity for students to do as part of a center or on their own time.

Ancient Egypt

This post discusses resources for the second grade Virginia SOL 2.1. In this unit, students learn about the contributions that ancient Egypt has made to the modern world. Specifically, students study how Egypt helped to develop, and influenced, writing, architecture and a few inventions like paper, the 365 day calendar, and the clock. The following books, websites and extra resources are designed to fit this second grade curriculum, but are varied in difficulty so that they can be differentiated for many different levels of students.



I Wonder Why the Pyramids Were Built: And Other Questions About Ancient Egypt

By Miranda Smith

I Wonder Why the Pyramids Were Built: And Other Questions About Ancient Egypt is a useful resources as an introduction to ancient Egypt as it gives a general overview about the lives and practices of ancient Egyptians. It provides child friendly explanations about tricky subjects like embalmment and mummification while still being an overall funny and entertaining book because of the many “ancient Egypt” jokes. Enjoyable illustrations accompany the text so that students can see what typical Egyptians looked like, and how the landscape and architecture of the time appeared.






The Egyptian Cinderella

By Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

The Egyptian Cinderella tells the familiar Cinderella story with an ancient Egyptian twist. In this version, the Greek slave girl, Rhodopis, is saved from her plight by marrying the Pharaoh, with a little help from the Egyptian god Horus. Students will enjoy this story because they can relate it to what they already know about Cinderella and can compare the similarities and differences between the traditional fairy tale and this Egyptian version. While still being entertaining, this Cinderella story manages to inform students about every day Egyptian life, from the existence and roles of slaves and pharaohs to Egyptian mythology and religion.





Egyptian Life

By Miriam Stead

This book is an excellent classroom resource because it provides examples and descriptions of ancient Egyptian life based upon artifacts currently found in the British Museum. Therefore, this book is different from most books on ancient Egypt because it shows real photographs of real Egyptian objects. Egyptian Life discusses many aspects of the everyday ancient Egyptian experience such as food, family, society, clothing and religion. In this way, this book is a good starting point for students’ comparisons of their modern lives to the lives of ancient Egyptians.







Hieroglyphs from A to Z

By Peter Manuelian

Hieroglyphs from A to Z is similar to the traditional alphabet books, where each letter is given a page and a sentence using a word that begins with that letter, yet it is different in that the letters are also represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the sentences are about Egyptian topics. This book serves as a good introduction to the study of hieroglyphics because it provides a comparison between the letters that students are used to, and their ancient Egyptian counterparts. This book presents the ancient Egyptian writing system in an easy to understand format, and also shares a few facts about Egyptian life and mythology.





Ancient Egypt

By George Hart

Ancient Egypt, from the Eyewitness book series, is a virtual encyclopedia of Egyptian knowledge geared towards elementary aged students. This book combines illustrations, photographs and diagrams to explain tricky and interesting subjects like, what the inside of a pyramid looks like, why the ancient Egyptians dressed the way they do, and how the ancient Egyptians made paper. This book may use some vocabulary that is beyond the second grade level, so it may need to be used as a teacher-guided resource or as a tool for differentiation but it provides an expanse of knowledge on practically any topic that you can think of when it comes to ancient Egypt.


Mr. Ancient Egypt

This site, geared at upper elementary school students, explains topics like the gift of the Nile, the land of the dead, the pharaoh, the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra. It provides detailed maps and clear explanations of why each of these topics is so important to any study of ancient Egypt. The wording might be a little hard for some second graders to understand, and the site is mostly text-based, so this would be a great site for a teacher-led Webquest or class activity where the teacher could guide students’ reading.

Kids Konnect Ancient Egypt

This site would be a wonderful resource for any class studying ancient Egypt since it provides a wealth of information about everything and anything Egypt related. It provides links to information on hieroglyphics, gods, mummies, the Nile, pharaohs, pyramids, Egyptian literature, art, history and more. Teachers and students could use this site to find anything that they might want to know about ancient Egypt, but again, this site may be difficult for second graders to navigate, because it is so expansive, so if students use this resource it should be guided by the teacher.

The British Museum-Ancient Egypt

This website is published by the British Museum’s Egyptology Department but is intended for an elementary audience. It has information about Egyptian life, geography, gods and goddesses, mummification, pharaohs, pyramids, time, trades and writing. This site would be especially useful in light of the SOL because of its explanations about the development of the clock and writing. Each topic contains a story and an exploration link, for example, in the temple section students can “explore” the inside of a temple. This site is easy to navigate so students could traverse it by themselves.

A to Z Kids Stuff- Ancient Egypt

This website acts as an introduction to the history and contributions of ancient Egypt. It discusses the different Egyptian kingdoms and their time periods, as well as Egyptian inventions and some brief information about prominent pharaohs. At the bottom of the page are listed fun activities that students could do to help them learn about ancient Egypt. Since this site is only one page long it would be an easy way for students to learn about ancient Egypt on their own.

 Children’s University of Manchester- Ancient Egypt

This website is produced by the University of Manchester as a child’s guide to ancient Egypt. It provides interactive activities that students can do online, like, explore ancient Egypt, Giza pyramid panorama, the Egyptian number system, writing in hieroglyphics, make a mummy and more. These activities have easy to understand directions and are fun ways to explain topics about ancient Egypt.

Other Resources

Why did the Egyptians build the tombs and pyramids? Movie

This movie, presented by BBC Learning Zone Class Clips, shows footage of the pyramids in Egypt and explains why the ancient Egyptians first began to develop the pyramids. It explains the different types of pyramids, which pharaohs preferred which type of pyramid and how Egyptians used the natural resources available to them to design and create the pyramids.

Southlands Elementary Ancient Egypt WebQuest

This WebQuest, produced by Southlands Elementary School, takes students on an internet tour of ancient Egypt to learn about topics like daily life, the sphinx, the Egyptian calendar, hieroglyphics, the pharaohs, the pyramids, the Rosetta Stone and mummification. This WebQuest would be a great review of a unit on Ancient Egypt; it uses clear directions and simple links to keep students from being confused or overwhelmed. The other unique thing about this WebQuest is that it asks students to develop their higher-level thinking by asking questions like “write down some differences between poor and rich Egyptians”, rather than simply asking all explicit questions.





The Ancient Egypt Pack: A Three Dimensional Celebration of Egyptian Mythology, Culture, Art, Life and Afterlife

By Christos Kondeatis

This book combines pull out activities and pop-up diagrams to explain the mysteries of ancient Egypt. There are board games, pop-up pyramids, an ancient Egyptian mask and many more interactive and tactile activities to keep students entertained while they are learning. This pack would be a great way to introduce students to a unit on ancient Egypt, or for use as a center activity, or just as something for the class to read together. It provides a lot of information in a very fun package.



Pyramids: 50 Hands on Activities to Experience Ancient Egypt

By Avery Hart

This book provides educators with many different activities for students to learn about ancient Egypt. There are activities about making mummies, designing Egyptian clothes, discovering what the ancient Egyptians ate, playing Egyptian games like tug of war, and more. This book encourages students to “think like Egyptians”, so they should complete the activities using resources and materials that the ancient Egyptians would have had, which adds a unique twist to simple games and projects. These activities are not just for fun, however, they are very educational and include a lot of factual information that students must understand in order to complete the activities, which makes for an excellent resource for both students and teachers alike.

The Planets

The following resources are intended for a range of elementary grades but fit specifically with the VA Science SOLs 4.7 and 6.8. In the fourth and sixth grades students learn about characteristics of the planets, the moon and the sun, as well as other aspects of our solar system such as other moons, asteroids and comets. These books, websites and additional resources  can therefore be used across the grades to help students learn all about our solar system (and beyond!).


The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System


By Joanna Cole (Author) and Bruce Degen (Illustrator)

This book, from the famous Magic School Bus series, chronicles the class’ trip to outer space. When something goes terribly wrong, however, and Miss Frizzle loses her class, the students must use clues about the planets to find her location in space. While this book may be intended for a younger audience, it provides a fun introduction to the different planets, and the composition of the solar system, that a variety of ages will enjoy.

Solar System: A Journey to the Planets and Beyond


By Ian Graham

This exciting book mixes 3D photographs and illustrations to give a brief background about each of the planets. It also contains information about missions to space, particularly the Mars Rover  and Apollo 11 missions, and provides pop up pages to provide more information in an interactive manner.

Discover the Planets


By Cynthia Pratt Nicolson (Author) and Bill Slavin (Illustrator)

While this book is meant for those aged 4-8, it provides a wealth of information regarding the differences between the planets, why the sun shines, and how the planets travel around the sun. It could be an excellent tool for differentiation or an introduction to a unit on the planets.

11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System


By David A. Aguilar

This book was written in response to the declaration that Pluto is no longer a planet and therefore chronicles not only the traditional eight planets but the dwarf planets as well. Included in the book are charts of planet statistics such as diameter and temperature. Because it goes beyond a simple study of the milky way and introduces other galaxies and sometimes uses complex vocabulary, this book is recommended more for sixth grade than fourth grade study.



By Carole Stott

This book uses dramatic photographs to provide in detail looks at the moon, the sun and the planets as well as an introduction to the milky way and other solar systems. This book is unique in that it also discusses the possibility of life on other planets (or the impossibility) and the future of space travel. It provides a comprehensive glossary that could be great for students’ research.


The Planets of our Solar System for Kids

This website uses a very simple layout (that facilitates students exploring it on their own) that explains characteristics of the planets like rotation, temperature, size and the Roman origin of their names. Links to information are provide in the form of photographs of the planets, giving students a reference for knowing what the planets look like.

StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers

This website, developed by a division of NASA researchers, is intended to provide students with information about the shape of the solar system, the location of the planets, and definitions of other space phenomena like asteroids, comets and black holes. It also provides a glossary and links to many games and activities that can be used in the classroom.

Astronomy for Kids- The Solar System

This section of the website, Astronomy for Kids, provides an interactive diagram of the milky way, complete with rotating planets, comets and asteroids. Students can click on one of the rotating objects to learn more about it and see pictures. By clicking on different links, students can learn about the different moons of the planets as well.

Bitesize- Earth, Sun and Moon

This activity, provided by the BBC, helps students learn about how the earth, sun and moon orbit around each other. By inputting a number of months, students can try to make the earth orbit around the sun a certain amount of times. A moving diagram shows how the moon orbits the earth while the earth orbits the sun and students can click on each to find more information about their characteristics.

Blast Off on a Trip Into Our Solar System!

Harcourt publishers presents this website in which students can see photographs and positioning of the planets. By clicking on the planet photos, students learn information like why each planet looks the way it does, which number it is away from the sun, why seasons exist and how many days each planet takes to orbit the sun.

Additional Resources

First Space Encyclopedia


By DK Publishing

This book would serve as an excellent classroom reference for any space or solar system unit. It tackles tough questions like, what space is, when it began and how it began as well as exploring space related subjects like satellites, stars, space exploration, astronomers and much more. By combining photos and text of varying sizes DK Publishing has created a very readable encyclopedia.

How the Universe Works: 100 Ways Parents and Kids Can Share the Secrets of the Universe

By Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest

This book is full of activities that can be used in the classroom for a variety of lessons on space. Activities are divided up between those that help explain the solar system, the sun, the stars and the cosmos (or the galaxies beyond). This book explains how parents and children (or students and teachers) can use the activities included to create a “Home Laboratory” and a “Home Observatory” of their own.

Space School- The Solar System

This video, from the Space School series and presented by DiscoveryTV on YouTube, uses beautiful images to explain to students the workings of the universe. This movie explains how the universe was formed, why the planets rotate the sun and what the planets, asteroids, sun and moon are made of, all in the fun format of a space teacher talking to a group of students in a futuristic space school.

Amazing Pop-Up Space Atlas


By DK Publishing

This book describes the planets of the milky way, the sun and the moon using a variety of interactive charts, pop-ups and pull-outs that students could be posted around the classroom, copied as a reference for individual students, or kept in the classroom library as an excellent reference source.