Developing a Conceptual Understanding of Fractions


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This publication is built on the idea that there is a difference between a conceptual understanding of fractions and the capacity to operate (do sums!) with fractions. An ability to operate with fractions doesn’t always show or lead to an understanding of fractions, but an understanding of fractions almost invariably contributes towards acquiring proficiency in the operations of fractions.
Many teachers and researchers will assert that as a topic, fractions is one which is challenging, but necessary, to teach and learn. It is a topic with complex connections to other areas of mathematics and seems to carry many misconceptions. In this publication we will be using activities which will help remediate these misconceptions and aid in the development of conceptual understanding.
Although the focus of this publication is in the teaching and learning of common fractions (i.e. ¼, ½, ¾ etc.) there are connections made to decimal fractions, percentages and ratios. We also explore the different types of representation which are required to develop a rich understanding of common fractions.
* Spans the teaching and learning of fractions from Foundation to Year Seven.
* All activities are tried and tested in classrooms
* Linked to Australian Curriculum content descriptions
* Based on contemporary research