Q&A #1533

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Fractions

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From: Dan Duchardt

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005040417:15:39
Subject: Re: fractions

On 2005040410:45:15, kendra wrote:
>I have a set of 8 year old twins and they are having great
>difficulties understanding fractions.  I need a way to explain
>fractions to them in a simplistic way that they would understand how
>to do them and how they got the correct answer.
>Please help

Manipulatives can be helpful.  Here is a link to one commercial source
(I have no affilliation with them; the pictures show what is
available.)  You can purchase some of these or make your own if you


I like the tiles that have the fractions printed on them for showing
the equivalence of fractions such as 3/4 = 9/12 and for showing why
you need common denominators for addition and subtraction.

Here is another link to an online Java based manipulative.  It's not
as obvious how to use it, but you can easily create fractional parts
of larger objects in many combinations.


The link referenced when you click on "description" is


It includes some basic things you can do with these.  You can extend
those to more complicated situations when your children are ready by
combining the shapes.  For example, you could combine 7 hexagons to
make a bigger hexagon, then divide the 7 hexagons into thirds to show
that 1/7 = 3/21, 2/7 = 6/21, etc.  You can also divide the 7 hexagons
into halves, or into sixths.  Then you can talk about adding or
subtracting fractions like 3/7 + 5/14, 9/14 - 5/21, etc.

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