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Q&A #1591

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Working with fractions

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From: Rita 
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000110714:37:08
Subject: A different way to define division

One technique that has helped me is to define division as simply
counting how many of a new group size exist.  For example 3 1/2
divided by 3/4 means take three wholes and one half and cut it into
fourths.  Then bundle three of them together to form a group. Your
students can circle 4 full groups of three and will have 2 of the 3
pieces they need to make a new group.  You can transition this into
the traditional multiply by the reciprocal as in     7/2 x 4/3=28/6= 4
2/3.

But computations aside the best benefit of this is it translate so
well into story problems.  They look for the starting amount and the
new size that is desired.  These are the only two important elements. 
Also have them look for key words in the questions such as packages,
groups, boxes, portions, etc. suggesting a new size.

I hope this helps, but start with some realistic numbers you have
tried
first. Believe me students will soon be challenging the limits of
their ability to count these pieces soon.

 -Rita, for the Teacher2Teacher service

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