Discussion:  Traffic Jam Applet tool 
Topic:  Fractions, concept and calculations 
Related Item:  http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/10/ 
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Subject:  RE: Fractions, concept and calculations 
Author:  tackweed 
Date:  Oct 1 2004 
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?
Here is one of the parts of the puzzle that I have noticed in grade 7:
Fractions are numbers. They can stand for three different, but related, kinds of
things:
* a part of a whole object, i.e., 1/4 of a pizza
* a part of a group, i.e., 1/2 of a class
* a part of a part, i.e., 1/2 of 3/4 of a pizza
We seldom take the time to emphasize this point which is a source of
confusion.
A second part is I always try to get students to understand that all proper
fractions are between the numbers 0 and 1 as are all decimal numbers.
The third part is the connection between fractions and decimals.
Another confusion is the lack of clarity in understanding between having an
object divided into 3 equal parts and just 3 parts. Students do not always see
the distinction
So far, I have found no nostrums. I try to keep all of these ideas in mind and
have them presented and discussed before trying to work through the set
algorithms.
Hopefully this might be a start to defining the problem....
 
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