Q&A #12670

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Dividing fractions

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From: DOG

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004022320:06:41
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you can ALWAYS divide across!

Perhaps I misunderstood the original question and you misunderstood my intent. As a high school teacher, I RETEACH division of fractions to my students. It is not useful to repeat a process someone else has already "taught" them. They already know there is a way to flip and multiply, but they just can't get it right and they now want to know why it works. I assist my students with their mental coaching process, so I ask students: What do you ask yourself when you see "1/3 divided by 1/4?" Nearly all of them have no idea where to begin. My explanation of why division across works is not what I would select as the primary, solitary, or universal method to teach my students. Yet it seemed to apply to the original question as posed on this Q/A board. My main emphasis is that division remains intact with this method. Since most students already know how to write equivalent fractions, the mystery of multiplying by the reciprocal is taken away and they can successfully repeat this process. My explanation is meant to restructure a student's misunderstanding(division of fractions) based on what they already comfortably know(equivalent fractions).

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