Thursday, February 2, 2017

Creating Fractions in Google Slides and Drawings

As a previous math teacher I always have a soft spot for the challenges faced when trying to use technology in math. A common pain point involves trying to put fractions or mixed numbers into a Google Doc or Slideshow or such.

Adding normal text, numbers, and symbols is a snap. However, things become tricky when attempting to properly represent a numerator over a denominator in a program that only wants you to type from left to right.

Thankfully for Google Docs and Google Forms you can use an add-on such as g(Math) which will let you create a fraction or mixed number, and then turn that into an image that you can add to the Doc or Form. Get g(Math) for Docs or g(Math) for Forms.

Unfortunately, Google Slides and Drawings do not support add-ons yet (please Google!). So if you want to add a fraction or mixed number to a slideshow presentation or a Drawing diagram, you will need to get a little creative.

One option is to use tables, with a little twist. See below for directions on how to do this, as well as a free template with lots of pre-made fractions and mixed numbers that you can copy, paste, and edit as needed.


Fraction Template

To help save you some time I went ahead and create a Google Slides template that has several pre-made fractions and mixed numbers. I made them in a few different sizes so you would have some variety to choose from. Here's how to use it:

First, get your own copy of the Fractions Template by clicking the link below.




Now that you have your own copy of the template do the following:


  • Click on the sample fraction or mixed number you would like to use, depending on the size you want.
  • Make sure you select the item by clicking on the blue border around the edge, rather than just clicking inside the fraction. If done correctly, the border will be solid and there will not be a blinking cursor inside the borders.
  • Now copy the fraction or mixed number ("Edit" then "Copy", or right-click and "Copy", or "Ctrl" and "C")
  • Next go to the Google Slideshow or Google Drawing you are working on.
  • Paste the copied fraction or mixed number into your Slideshow or Drawing ("Edit" then "Paste", or right-click and "Paste", or "Ctrl" and "V")
  • Click inside of the fraction or mixed number and type in the numbers you want.
  • Finally you can move the item to wherever you want on the slide or drawing by clicking the border and dragging.



Making Fractions with Tables

If instead you would like to create the fractions yourself, here are the basic steps I took to make mine:

  • In the top menu bar, click "Table" and then "Insert Table".
  • For a fraction choose a 1 by 2 table.
  • For a mixed number choose a 2 by 2 table.
  • Adjust the width of the table as needed by dragging the side border.
  • If making a mixed number, click and drag to select the first column of the table, then click "Table" and "Merge cells". This will make the left column one big cell for your whole number.
  • Now type in the numbers you want for the numerator, denominator, and whole number (if needed).
  • You can change the font, font size, font color, and such as normal.
  • If you want to center your whole number vertically, click in the cell and then use the "Align" button in the top menu.
  • To remove the borders, select the entire fraction or whole number, then click the "Line color" button in the toolbar and choose "Transparent".
  • To add the fraction bar back in, click in numerator cell, click the down arrow in the top right corner of the cell, and choose the bottom border. Now use the "Line color" button again but this time choose black or other desired color.


You will now have made your own fraction or mixed number that you can use however you wish.

Conclusion

Thankfully Google tools are becoming more and more user friendly with more options for natural handwriting and flexible formatting. However for the tasks that still are not easy, we can get creative to find ways to represent math in a digital environment.


Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+EricCurts1

3 comments:

  1. So clever, Eric! Keep thinking outside the box!! Or in this case, inside the box. (snicker)

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  2. Good ideas.
    I also spent a happy hour or two learning some basic latex coding, and copying and pasting the pictures.

    http://arachnoid.com/latex/ is my site of choice...

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  3. Eric, thanks for mentioning g(Math). You can now make a fraction in Docs and the image will copy and paste into Slides. You can even resize without pixelation. Our April 4 update will help with this as well.

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