Fractions
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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Learning Together About Building on Informal Understandings of Fractions
Same Parts, Different Whole: Lesson Plan and Worksheet
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Overview
Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for K-8
The National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Common Core State Standards emphasize the importance of rational numbers. Watch this multimedia overview to learn why and to receive an introduction...
Sample Material
Ratio: Warm Up Activity
Students use counters or blocks to work out their responses to three problems and then represent their answers as shown in Cross-Multiply? Not So Fast. Related Media and...
Sample Material
Fraction Strip Game: Cover Up
A third-grade teacher uses this game to help students understand unit fractions and equivalences. Students work in pairs, following instructions to play two variations of the game. Making and Using...
Visual Diagram
Visual Diagram: Fractions Instruction
This diagram serves as a visual overview of the recommended instructional practices for teaching fractions in elementary and middle school, along with information on the knowledge teachers need to...
Expert Interview
The Importance of Fractions Instruction
Dr. Siegler discusses why competence with fractions is critical for more advanced math and why U.S. students have difficulty grasping fractions. He also describes the developmental sequence that...
Sample Material
Focus on Fraction Operations
This PowerPoint covers the content of a staff development session for math coaches and teachers about how to teach fraction operations. Multiply or Divide? shows a portion of the workshop in which...