Getting third graders to think proportionally is a fantastic
way to encourage modeling, and to “prime the pump” for proportional thinking
when working with fractions. Simple proportional thinking can be so clearly
seen with models that it is accessible to all students. There are so many
real-world contexts relating to proportions that are near and dear to a third
graders heart! Think about candy, carnival prizes, field trips and much more.

An added bonus – math work that lends itself to modeling and
is easy to justify with a model. I asked students to examine a small bag of M
& Ms. Based on the number of each color in the small bag, students needed
to figure out how many of each color would be in a giant bag of M & Ms.
Students were busy grabbing their colored pencils and large mat papers before
we even answered the last “

*need more information question*”.
Added, added bonus – many students were able to make a
connection to multiples with this activity. Some students began to take

**shortcuts**,*which is just really using math in the most efficient way*, by using ideas of multiples.