Q&A #221

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching dividing fractions

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From: Kristina <kristina@mathforum.org>
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2004032310:45:30
Subject: Re: help asap


To be honest, I would start by asking the student how he solved the
problem. I can guess about what he did, but unless I see more problems
with the same mistake you can't be sure about the concepts he's

>  15
>  __
>   6
>  __
>  30
>  30
> ___
>a) Why does his reasoning not allow for the correct answer?

I'm not sure why he decided to start with a 1 in the quotient. He may
have asked himself, "how many times does 6 (divisor) go into 6 (last
digit of the dividend)?"

>b) What should I do to help this student understand why his approach
>is not correct, and how could I help facilitate an understanding that
>will allow for this correct answer?

For one thing, you might have him use graph paper for division so that
he's forces to write his results in the proper column. If he did what
I said above, he should have at least written the 1 above the 6
instead of the 3. He might eventually see that his answer is not
lining up right.

Also, he needs to be taught to start by dividing into the first digit.
Instead of asking himself how many times 6 goes into  6, he should ask
how many times 6 goes into 30.

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