Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lesson on fractions (25 September 2013)

Point 1: When we are partitioning a whole into fractional parts, they must be the same size but need not be of the same shape like the image on the top left.
Point 2: When the number of equal sized parts determines the fractional amount, we need to make them into equivalent fractions in order to divide them equally.  Thus, they were written into simplest terms. 
Young children must understand fractions meaningfully.  Using appropriate representations and different categories of models broaden and deepens their understanding.  This is essential for their future learning as fractions are used as measurement across various professions.

Fractions for young children - Simple methods for 4 to 6 year olds.


There are many ways how to teach fractions, and the success or failure of the child to understand fractions will depend on the teaching method used.  The methods outlined below have been proven to be easy for young children to grasp, and easy for every preschool teacher to implement.

It's been said that if a child understands fractions, then they can understand any mathematics concept.  It is then very important for every preschool teacher to know how to teach fractions in the most approachable way possible.
Explain every fraction in terms of pizza or pie to make the concept familiar.
When deciding on a method of how to teach fractions, we need to use fractional analogies that children will immediately recognize.  The pizza is the perfect instrument to teach the concept of the fraction.

Use fractions that every child understands.  For example, take the fraction: ½.  Take the time to explain that this fraction represents a pizza that has been cut into two pieces, but you only have one of the pieces left. 


1/3 or one third
Next, tell them that the numerator of the fraction is the top number and the denominator of the fraction is the bottom number.  Always keep in mind that using the best methods of how to teach fractions involves moving very slowly, giving multiple examples involving fractions until every child is comfortable.  Use familiar examples involving fractions such as 1/4, 1/3, and 3/4 to reinforce the concept of what a fraction is.

1/4 or a quarter

Draw lots of pictures of fractions.
Children are visual learners and the best technique of how to teach fractions involves drawing pictures of fractions.  For example, take the fraction: 1/4.  This fraction can be best described by drawing a pizza cut into four pieces, but you only have three of the pieces such as in this picture of the fraction.  Get children to figure out the fraction of the missing piece.

2/8 or 1/4
Ensure that you teach fraction simplification slowly and thoroughly.
Most students have a very hard time understanding the concept of equivalent fractions, otherwise known as fraction simplification.  The best way how to teach fraction simplification is to show pictures of many such fractions that we know to be equivalent.  For example, we know that:

1/4 or a quarter



is equivalent to 

For those new to learning fractions, this concept can be hard to understand.  As always, when it comes to how to teach fractions, pictures are almost always the superior teaching tool. 

To show how these fractions are equivalent, we draw each case separately.  The teacher can then show children that the fraction 2/4 is “two out of four pieces” and that 1/2 are "one out of two pieces".  It is a very powerful method of teaching fractions to show visually how these two fractions represent the exact same amount of pizza. 
In conclusion, learning how to teach fractions in the best way possible is very much worth the teachers’ time because when we form a good foundation in the essentials of fractions, it will make the future topics much easier to understand.  Childdren will then have a good foundation in fractions to understand how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions without problems.  And by using the methods outlined above, the teacher will know how to teach fractions to young children in the most approachable way possible.

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