More about Fractions: Do the Work in Guided Math Groups
The National Math Report said a great deal about fractions in elementary school. Here are a few of the research highlights (p 17-18):
- Pictorial representations, without sufficient emphasis on the nature of wholes …may be an obstacle
- Number line representation may be more effective.
- Words also seem to influence the mental representations that children form concerning fractions
- Focus on conceptual knowledge first
- Procedural knowledge is equally important
Successful Interventions include:
- the use of fraction names that demarcate parts and wholes,
- the use of pictorial representations that are mapped onto the number line,
- composite representations of fractions that are linked to representations of the number line.
- Conceptual and procedural knowledge about fractions less than one do not necessarily transfer to fractions greater than one, and must be taught separately.
Spend time doing fractions and proportional reasoning… with the goal for students being one of learning rather than performance. However, there should be ample opportunity in the curriculum for accurate self-evaluation.
What do you think of that? Number lines are big here! Pull out the number lines when you teach fractions…Also, self-evaluation keeps coming up. Do you give your students time to self-evaluate? How does that look across the grade levels? Notice the emphasis on a learning rather than just performing. We want students doing WITH understanding!