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

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