A strong understanding of fractions is essential for student success in algebra and more advanced math courses, and the earlier this foundation is built the better. Unfortunately, many students in the U.S. struggle with basic fractions concepts and face increased challenges as the concepts get more complex.

To effectively close the gaps in students' fractions knowledge, K-3 teachers should begin fractions instruction using students' informal understandings of sharing and proportion as the basis for formal instruction of basic fraction concepts. They should also ensure that students understand fractions as numbers in the rational number system and have strong proportional reasoning that will support them in performing operations with fractions.

To learn more about the research underlying these practices, view the IES Practice Guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade.

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Fractions on a Number Line

Fractions on a Number Line

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...

School Example
Video
03/16/2014
837 views
Making and Using Fraction Strips

Making and Using Fraction Strips

Watch how a third-grade teacher introduces unit fractions through a game that involves “covering up” a unit with fractional parts. Directions for two variations of the game are included in Fraction...

School Example
Video
03/16/2014
1087 views
Using a Number Line to Teach Fractions

Using a Number Line to Teach Fractions

Elementary school teachers demonstrate the use of an open number line with two scales for adding and subtracting fractions and explain why the open number line can be a valuable tool for students...

School Example
Video
03/14/2014
503 views
A Teacher’s Perspective: How to Use the Practice Guide

A Teacher’s Perspective: How to Use the Practice Guide

Laurie Thompson served as a practitioner representative on the IES panel for teaching fractions. In this interview she describes how she first became aware of the importance of using a number line...

Expert Interview
Audio
03/14/2014
462 views
Number Lines: A Key Representational Tool

Number Lines: A Key Representational Tool

Dr. Yukari Okamoto describes the misconceptions that students have about fractions and how to help them understand fractions’ place in the number system. She demonstrates instructional approaches...

Expert Interview
Video
03/14/2014
1142 views

Learning Together About Building on Informal Understandings of Fractions

Math coaches and specialists can use this professional development sequence to help primary grade teachers learn about the importance of working with even very young children on informal fraction...

Tool
Document
03/12/2014
932 views

Discussion Prompts: Initial Fraction Concepts

Teachers can use these prompts to help children extend their thinking during informal encounters with fractions. The question and strategy prompts remind teachers how they can take advantage of...

Tool
Document
03/12/2014
983 views

Creating Story Problems: Initial Fraction Concepts

Use this planning tool to create problems that build on children’s informal understanding of fractions. The planner outlines the components necessary to construct a progression of...

Tool
Document
03/12/2014
901 views
Recognizing Fractions as Numbers

Recognizing Fractions as Numbers

Watch this multimedia overview explaining why number lines are recommended as a central representational tool to teach students about fractions and how teachers can help students understand...

Overview
Video
03/12/2014
1274 views

Same Parts, Different Whole: Lesson Plan and Worksheet

A fourth-grade teacher’s lesson on finding fractional parts of rectangular arrays and a group of objects requires students to compare the same fractional parts of different-size wholes. Related...

Sample Material
Document
03/12/2014
1082 views

Sharing Cookies Worksheet

As seen in Equal Sharing in Grade 1, a teacher uses the progressively more difficult sharing challenges on this worksheet to differentiate instruction. Related Files: Equal Sharing in...

Sample Material
Document
03/12/2014
1287 views
Equal Sharing in Grade 1

Equal Sharing in Grade 1

Watch a teacher guide students through a problem set requiring fair sharing of objects and sets of objects. Using Sharing Cookies Worksheets, she provides differentiated challenges based on...

School Example
Video
03/12/2014
1301 views
  • Items 37 - 48 of 62