Fractions at a Conceptual Level
An understanding of fraction concepts is foundational for student success in mathematics as called for in the Common Core. Both the CCSS and the Practice Guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade, recognize the importance of using tools such as number lines to build student fluency in interpreting and representing fractions. This collection of videos explores a variety of techniques, tools, and student and teacher explanations, which teachers can use to guide their presentation and clarification of fractions on a conceptual level.
In the first video, a fourth-grade teacher uses a number line to emphasize fraction/decimal/percent equivalence and that a fraction is a number. She continually asks her students “How do you know?” to elicit explanations of their placement of the fractional numbers on the diagram. Next, Jonathan Brendefur, a professor at Boise State University, talks about using number lines to model the different interpretation of fractions in a variety of contexts. In Solving a Real-World Fraction Division Problem, a fifth-grade teacher presents a real context for exploring division with fractions, purposefully selecting multiple representations and modeling good questioning.
A fourth-grade teacher describes students’ challenges in moving from a part-whole interpretation of fractions to seeing them as numbers. Student pairs work on locating fractions and decimal and percent equivalents on a number line.