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Fraction Models

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“Fraction Models” representation on the Illuminations website provides number sense through visual experiences with irrational  fractions. The site also allows children to see that different representations of fractions may be written with different numbers and operations and still mean the same proportion of the whole.  The experience with equivalent fractions will build schema for algebraic equations that require reducing rational numbers.

 The ability to change the squares to show area, length, and width removes the mystery of irrational numbers. Children may see that larger numerators simply means complete wholes and part of a whole. At this time, fourth-grade class is working on multiplication of tens, hundreds and thousands. The wide range option on scale would allow children to explore the concept of decimal places. Seeing the area representations change in proportion to the number line slide would allow my children who are still counting on their fingers to multiply make a connection to skip counting. Playing with the pie models would allow my children to build visual understanding of simple rational fractions. The screen is somewhat busy. I predict that some guidance on looking at different parts of the screen to make comparisons would be required. Also, it was fun to enlarge the pie with the scale and not look at the corresponding percentage and decimals algorithms. (I have trouble focusing sometimes also.)

Our training has taught us that playing with models such as this is an excellent way to build experience before introducing new concepts. The experience also would allow children to make discoveries themselves, without having to teach them directly. We may reinforce their ideas through explanation and scaffold their understanding with questions. As I’ve already mentioned, I also see opportunity for reviewing concepts and clearing errors in thinking with the models.


Written by autumnsfall2

November 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Math games

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