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Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching dividing fractions

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From: Jillian

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003061020:34:38
Subject: Re: dividing fractions

Hello, I just happened upon this...don't know if anyone still is following this thread. All of the suggested examples are pretty helpful, but most of them deal with dividing a whole number by a fraction, or a fraction by a whole number, or of an example where the answer comes out to be a whole number. All of these cases are much easier than something like, say, 2/3 divided by 4/5, or, how many 4/5 are in 2/3 (A: 10/12)? I have found that drawing boxes to represent 'units' and dividing the boxes into a certain number of parts -- for example, five parts for 4/5 and three for 2/3, then shading in 4 and 2 -- can help for visualization. I still cannot figure out the exact process one needs to go through in order to come up with the 'reciprocal' procedure, which is becoming quite irritating for me, but if you draw the boxes on the board, then find a common denominator and draw another box divided into fifteen parts, it is fairly easy to see how many 4/5 (12/15) fit into 2/3 (10/15).

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