Teaching Students to be Digital Citizens in the World of Mathematics

For the last five years I have been a teacher in intermediate elementary grade levels: 4th and 5th. In all of these years I have taught Eureka math to my students as our main curriculum. My post today isn’t to comment on whether it’s been a good or bad program, but rather to show how I worked to enhance a curriculum that teachers in my district have to teach. In our age of teaching we are often feeling pressed to get through the content leaving little time behind to focus on digital literacies. For my backwards design project, I decided to focus on one topic in a Eureka module and then to detail out one lesson in particular. I picked 5th Grade Module 4 Topic E – Multiplying Fractions. I picked this as my focus because fractions are the biggest math standard in 5th grade, and at the time I picked my topic I was currently working in Module 4. Before jumping in to lesson planning I focused on essential questions and standards that I wanted addressed in the unit.

Stage 1:

Essential Questions

  • Why does your product of a fraction times a fraction equal a smaller fraction?
  • Why can a decimal be turned into a fraction?
  • How does a fraction represent division?
  • Why does the process for multiplying fractions work?
  • How can you demonstrate your learning using a model to show multiplication of fractions?
  • Where can you use these skills in real-world scenarios?

Students will understand . . .

  • Why the process for multiplying fractions works
  • How to apply the knowledge to solve multi-step word problems
  • How to turn a decimal into a fraction and be able to multiply in decimal or fraction form
  • Explain how these skills can be used in real world situations

Students will know . . .

  • “Of” means to multiple
  • The process of multiplying fractions
  • How to put their answer in the simplest terms
  • To multiply numerators by numerators and denominators by denominators

Students will be able to . . .

  • Multiply fractions
  • Convert decimals and fractions
  • Multiply decimals
  • Solve word problems
  • Simplify the product
  • Solve multi-step word problems
  • Explain why the process works


5.MD.A.1 – Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems.

5.NF.B.6 – Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.)

5.NF.B.6 – Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.

5.NBT.B.7 – Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

ISTE Standards for Students

2 Digital Citizen: Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

b. Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

Stage 2:

After planning where I wanted my students to go, I worked on assessment. I decided to go for a happy medium between assessments we already use in our curriculum, and adding some opportunities for student self-reflection and digital citizenship opportunities. Daily students will do a self check of their learning. This can be done by printing the template or uploading it on a digital platform for students to fill out. They can also take a daily exit ticket of the day’s math learning, as it already a part of the curriculum. Students will take 2 quizzes which have been modified for this plan to assess their computational skills and 1 performance task at the end which was created by me to give students a real-world challenge. Within these assessments, students will have opportunities to provide feedback to their peers demonstrating positive and ethical behavior online. Below you can find links to the assessments used in this topic.


  • Student Self-Reflection for math notebook – Link (created by my PLC team)
  • Student Topic Quiz 1 – Link (created by district, modified by me)
  • Student Topic Quiz 2 – Link (created by district, modified by me)
  • Daily Exit Tickets – Link (created by Eureka)
  • Performance Task – Link (created by me)

Stage 3:

After working through essential questions and assessments I knew where I wanted my students to go. The next phase was unit and lesson planning. I know frequently in my own practice lesson planning is where I tend to jump without doing the other stages. This was a good practice to really take time to make sure everything I did connected to my goals and objectives. My overall unit plan provides skeletons of what to do/when with the lessons in the topic. The detailed lesson 16 plan shows more in-depth how I would plan out teaching that lesson to my students.


Though initially this project came across as daunting, I am grateful for the experience. With my newly redone topic my students will be able to explain the math using traditional and digital tools. They will use digital platforms to create videos where they share their strategies with their peers and teacher. My students will also be able to apply what we have learned in real contexts. There will be times in their lives when they’re cooking that they may need to halve a recipe or when they will need to see work from their peers and provide feedback. As their teacher I will be able to assess both their fraction skills and their ability to communicate positively and ethically in a digital society. I will be able to provide feedback to them on their comments to their peers as well as giving them feedback on their math skills. I did not get to teach this topic the way I planned this year, but I am excited to make changes to future units this year and look forward to teaching it next year. Share your thoughts with me below!

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