After a week of fractions, Ioan didn’t want to take the day off for the bank holiday. He suggested doing fractions using Union Jack flags.


  • Printed Union Jack flags
  • Scissors


First of all, Ioan started with 4 Union Jack flags. He found half of the 4 flags and then halved that answer again.

Next, Ioan found half of three flags.

Ioan talked about the difference between cutting a shape in half and just cutting a shape in two. To cut a shape in half, rather than just in two, both sides need to be an equal size.

Then, he moved on to finding a half of different shapes. He folded the shapes, to see where they could be folded in half. The butterfly, heart and isosceles triangle could only be folded in half one way. When he folded the shape that was meant to be a circle, he discovered it wasn’t a perfect circle, it was actually a slight oval. That meant it could only be folded two ways.

The first picture below showed Ioan demonstrating which ways you can and can’t cut the flag in half. In the next two pictures, I asked him to predict how many ways he could cut each shape in half. He had been right, when folding, that he could only cut the butterfly, heart and isosceles triangle in half one way.

Once Ioan started cutting the square, he realised that his prediction that there were only three ways to cut the square in half, was wrong. When he folded the square, you could only fold it in half symmetrically along the lines shown in the rectangle picture below. However, when he actually cut the square in half, he was able to flip and rotate one of the pieces to see where they fit.

He excitedly came to the conclusion: “Any straight line that goes through the middle of the square will cut it in half!”

Similarly, as soon as he started cutting the circle, he realised there were unlimited ways of cutting the circle. As long as he crossed the centre of the circle, then it didn’t matter which direction he cut in, it always gave him two halves.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Mathematics Year 1 programme of study

Number – fractions

  • recognise, find and name a half as one of two equal parts of an object, shape or quantity

Geometry – properties of shapes

  • recognise and name common 2-D shapes [for example, rectangles (including squares), circles and triangles]