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How do I help students learn about fractions?

Both parents and teachers write to Teacher2Teacher asking for help in teaching about fractions. One writer put it like this:
"I need as much help as you can give me on fractions. My niece needs help -- big time -- and her parents won't help so Uncle is going to try and help. It's been a long time since I graduated in 1970, so I would love everything you can give me to help. She is a good kid and having a real hard time with this."
Teacher2Teacher Associates and contributors in the Teachers' Lounge discussions have responded to these many letters suggesting a variety of methods. Somewhere in the suggestions will be ideas to help your student learn about fractions.

T2T discussions about fractions:

Adding and subtracting fractions
What is the best method of teaching how to rename fractions to have common denominators in order to add or subtract?...view discussion>>

Dividing fractions
How can you demonstrate with pictures or manipulatives, how to divide -2/3 divided by -3/4?...view discussion>>

My son is having great difficulty learning fractions....view discussion>>

I need as much help as you can give me on fractions....view discussion>>

Fractions: an egg carton activity
Could you please give me some ideas/activities that I could use to help the class understand fractions better?...view discussion>>

Multiplying fractions
How can I teach the concept of multiplying fractions?...view discussion>>

Practical uses for division of fraction
What are some examples from daily life in which division of fractions is required?...view discussion>>

Reducing fractions
I would like help in teaching how to reduce fractions with large denominators in a clear way....view discussion>>

Subtracting fractions with borrowing
How do you subtract a fraction with whole numbers when you have to borrow?...view discussion>>

Teaching dividing fractions
Although we know the "method" I am always trying to have the students understand the concepts and see where the "method" is derived. ...view discussion>>

Teaching fraction addition
Might you have any ideas as to how I can present fraction addition using some form of technology or physical manipulation?...view discussion>>

How do I introduce the concept of thousandth to Grade 5, based on their prior knowledge of tenths and hundredths?...view discussion>>

Using pattern blocks to understand fractions
How can I teach fractions using pattern blocks?...view discussion>>

Working with fractions
Please send me some ideas, suggestions and strategies for teaching fraction concepts so that it is easier for students to understand....view discussion>>


Ask Dr. Math resources:

Dividing Fractions - Math Forum, Ask Dr. Math FAQ
How do you divide fractions? Say, 2/3 divided by 3/4. more>>

Elementary Level Fractions and Decimals
Best archived answers for different ways to work with fractions and decimals.

Fractions, Decimals, Percentages - Math Forum, Ask Dr. Math FAQ
What are simple, complex, and compound fractions? How do you convert decimals and percentages to fractions? more>>

Middle School Level Fractions & Percents
Best archived answers for different ways to work with fractions and percents.


Literature connections:

Students' mathematical understanding can be enhanced through literature selected for its mathematical connections. The following books are available through

Eating Fractions
Bruce McMillan (New York: Scholastic 1991)

Fractions are Parts of Things
J. Richard Dennis (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1971)

Gator Pie
Louise Mathews (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1979)

The Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fractions Book
Jerry Pallotta (Cartwheel Books, 1999)


Resources on the Web:

Appetizers and Lessons for Mathematics and Reason: Fractions - Alan Selby
Have you ever wonder what is a fraction or how operation on fractions can be justified. This site area sketches an answer - a story or theory to explain why. The work here is for gifted students who know-why besides their know-how. It is also for teachers and tutors. Explore the pages one at a time and one after another. ...more>>

Introduction to Fractions for Primary Students - Varnelle Moore
A Web unit designed to introduce young children (K-2) to beginning concepts in fractions: equal parts, divide and shade, parts to whole, and writing fractions. Each lesson includes an interactive, manipulative-based project, technology, paper/pencil practice, and literature connections. Helpful links and teacher support extension ideas are also provided including alignment to NCTM Standards. ...more>>

Math Forum Internet Mathematics Library: Fractions/Decimals/Percentages
Fractions resources that have been collected, organized, cataloged and annotated from diverse sources.

Measuring Fractions & Decimals: Memory Aid - Johnny & Margaret Hamilton
Remembering how to double fractions, halve fractions, halve mixed numbers and make rough estimates.

No Matter What Shape Your Fractions Are In - Cynthia Lanius
Students explore geometric models of fractions and discover relations among them, reinforcing their knowledge of fractions by using online pattern block activities. The lessons are designed for students to work independently or with guidance from the teacher. Lessons should be printed so students can draw and color the appropriate shapes. Teachers notes are included. ...more>>

A Tour of Fractions
The Web often seems more like a maze than an organized set of resources. To help you find what you need, the Math Forum presents a 'tour' of fractions, offering links to lessons, activities, and materials, questions and answers from Ask Dr. Math, and recommended software, grouped by level (elementary, middle school, high school). Material on fractals is included....more>>

Visual Fractions
A site with 19 Java programs that provide instruction and practice in identifying, renaming, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions. Number lines are drawn to demonstrate each example. Programs include: Identify Fractions; Identify Mixed ...more>>

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