Q&A #5962

Multiplying fractions

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From: Gail (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Mar 13, 2001 at 20:18:24
Subject: Re: Multiplying fractions

I second Ron's use of the word "of".   The language becomes the key to
reasoning here.   Think of what 2 x 14 means:  2 groups of 14.

The same with 2 x 1/3...   it means 2 groups of 1/3.

If you extend that reasoning to problems like 1/2 x 14 (1/2 of a group of
14) and 1/2 x 1/3 (one half of 1/3) you can see why sometimes multiplying
makes amounts larger, and sometimes it makes them smaller.

The most important thing to realize is that you should NOT teach students
that the end result of muliptlying is that the answer gets very large.
You CAN let them figure out WHEN it gets larger, and when it doesn't.
That might be a really interesting investigation.  :-)

 -Gail, for the T2T service

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