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Topic: Fractions, concept and calculations

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Subject:   RE: Fractions, concept and calculations
Author: Bradford
Date: Oct 20 2004
When I graduated the 8th grade I had already taken Advance Trig and Geometry,
Linear Algebra, Chemistry and what equivocates to Composition 101 in Jr. College
and so on.  With that knowledge I challenged and passed the Highschool Graduate
Tests and went on to Jr. College.

Why children don't get it today - how to order fractions?  My god man - that's
like asking them to blow their noses if they have a runny nose. The children
don't get it because their parents and teachers don't get it. For a teacher not
to be able to figure out how to teach children how to order fractions - is an
insult to the human species - at this stage in time. A teacher asking this
question is a liar and thief.  That teacher would be lying to the people being
taught by claiming to be a teacher - and stealing the money of those paying for
the education. You should be punished by being forced to go back to kindergarden
and hang your head in shame that you are such a nasty person.

Our society of today is riding on the backs of the 40's, 50's and 60's, maybe
some 70's scientist and engineers.  Our society has been dumbed down by the
PhD.'s of today who need a way to give themselves value for a retirement plan.
You people know who you are - and you suck.

1 is big, 2 is half as big, 3 is a 3rd as big, etc.  Not a big mystery in
fractions.  To order fractions - why is so hard to remember this rule
/1=biggist, /2=half as big, /3 is a third as big. This is about as dumbed down
as you can get it - without not knowing it all.  Pie Size tools, Bar Chart
tools, even go buy a hamburger and cut it in 2 pieces and as which is larger -
the 1/1 whole or the 1/2 half? You don't need star charts to understand
fractions.  That is the first Tool.  Some common sense. You don't need to use
cliche phrases such as "conceptual tools" to understand basic math.  Math is a
fiction anyway.  It's just another alphabet form of symbols for communications
to show and tell others what one sees in this physical realm and how to describe
things that go together or not, etc.  What children should be learning is "HOW
TO THINK" - first.  The symbolism can be added along the way - bottom up or if
the child gets it - from the top down.

On Sep 30 2004, lanius wrote:
> Greetings,

How do you teach conceptual understanding of
> fractions? What tools have you found to be effective, and likewise
> how do you teach computational fluency with fractions and what tools
> are effective?

I'd like to relate a story. Formerly, in Texas,
> we had the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS) where
> students had to pass what was basically an 8th grade level test in
> order to graduate. One of the questions always on the test required
> them to order a series of fractions from least to gratest -- 2/3,
> 5/6, 3/4, 2/5, etc. I was teaching a test-prep class to seniors who
> needed only to pass the math test in order to graduate, having
> failed it several times. I wrote the problem of ordering fractions
> on the board. The students had some ideas of getting common
> denominators, etc. to work the problem, but I asked them to talk
> about the problem a bit to see what they understood about fractional
> parts. To try to get at what they understood, I wrote 6/7 and 7/6 on
> the board and asked them to put those in order. And the students
> couldn't.

So what does that mean? I felt like they had no clue
> about what these numbers meant. So I thought why spend time teaching
> students to add/subtract/multiply/divide fractions (which also was
> tested) when the numbers held no meaning for them. How could this
> happen? These students were plenty bright. I'm sure they'd seen lots
> of pies cut up all through math classes. Why didn't they get it?
> Where was the dis-connect in the understanding?


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