It turns out that all that time we spent partitioning pizzas into slices was probably not the best way for our students to learn fractions. After reading and hearing lots of new research around learning fractions, it is recommended that we avoid circles until later grades when students have a better understanding of the properties of a circle.
Also, new to students in grade 3, is fraction of a set. This is abstract to many students because the focus now is on the number of parts as opposed to the size of the parts. For example, half the class requires students to look exclusively at the number of students in the class as opposed to the attributes of those students.
What fraction of this collection of fruit is red? This is demonstrating fraction of a set using items of different sizes to show that the size is irrelevant, it is the number of items in the collection that serves as the whole.
What fraction can be used to describe the pieces found within each square? This is demonstrating fraction of an area/region where the focus is equal (not necessarily congruent) pieces. This is the focus in primary grades and may interfere somewhat in moving to fraction of a set.
Today I was fortunate enough to work with some really knowledgeable and insightful teachers from schools other than my own. The team from Lawfield and Franklin Road had so much to share and were so keen to learn. It was a refreshing start to my week. As far as I’m concerned, any day of math is refreshing, but when others share in the passion, it’s extra enjoyable. The way we teach and assess is so important if we want students to really understand the math content. Are you aware of the complexity of counting? I wasn’t until I became a math facilitator and received extensive PD around this. Also, student understanding of fractions is often extremely fragile unless their thinking is challenged and stretched. Check out some great math info below.
So, this is my first ever attempt at blogging. My hope is that I can use this as a platform to convey my passions while providing helpful resources to other teachers. I am a self professed math lover. I believe that math is both a science and an art. The answer is the final product of a beautiful process that makes everything make sense.
If you haven’t already seen this clip (or even if you have), it’s well worth your time to watch it. This amazing teacher (Dan Meyer) is just so engaging and inspirational. Check it out.