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Q&A #19425


Practical uses of operations with fractions

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From: Claire (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Mar 16, 2008 at 22:13:00
Subject: Re: Practical uses of operations with fractions

Hi, Dee --

Thanks for writing to T2T. Fractions are extremely important in our daily
lives, as well as in future math courses. Operations with fractions are used
extensively in algebra, probability and beyond. To ignore these skills puts
students at a real disadvantage in their future math studies.

If you are in the US, which has not yet embraced the metric system, most any
activity that involves measurement uses fractions and operations with them.
Adjusting recipes, measuring a room for carpet or wallpaper, reading maps,
etc. Fraction concepts and operations are very useful in problem solving,
even when the problem doesn't deal with units of measurement.

All that said, it's critical to develop students' conceptual understanding of
fractions as the foundation on which to teach them operations with them.
Memorizing procedures with them doesn't do any good if they don't know what
to do with them.

There are lots of good ideas about teaching fractions on the T2T FAQ page at
http://mathforum.org/t2t/faq/faq.fraction.html

I hope this is helpful. Please write again if you have more questions.

 -Claire, for the T2T service

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