By Fikrul Umam, S.Pd., a teacher at SDN Kludan state elementary school in Tanggulangin subdistrict, Sidoarjo regency, East Java

It’s not easy for students to understand the counting operations of fractions. Students who are directly taught about fractions without any learning aids usually find it difficult to grasp the subject material. Moreover, each student has different abilities.

When it comes to fractions, I use a tangible medium to help students understand the concept more easily. In fact, I use a watermelon. At the beginning of the lesson, I ask the students how many watermelons I have. They answer in unison, “One fruit, Sir.”

I carefully cut the watermelon in half. I then ask them how many pieces there are, to which the students answer differently. Some answer with one-one, others answer with two, and still others answer with one part and a half. After hearing the students’ various responses, I correct their answers by explaining that one part of the watermelon is called one by two, or it can also be called half or one half. I then ask the students to come forward and write down the number one by two on the board.

I continue with  explanations, cutting the watermelon into four equal parts while asking questions until the watermelon has been cut into eight equal parts.

I continue with further explanations,  using some parts of the watermelon added together to make a similar fraction problem, such as one-fourth plus one-fourth equals two-fourths of the watermelon. In addition to adding fractions, I explain subtracting fractions by using the watermelon.

As a result of explaining fractions by using a watermelon, the students become very enthusiastic and excited, and they are able to better understand the counting operation of fractions. This can be seen from the many students who raise their hands to answer the questions.

A past student test result showed that 90% of the students correctly answered the counting operations of fractions. It is evident to me that by using tangible objects, the students are able to learn in a more comprehensible, effective, and fun way.