Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fractions gain traction with real-life models

Date:
August 27, 2013
Source:
Concordia University
Summary:
For children to understand math, teachers must constantly make the connection between abstract numbers and real world examples, new research shows.

If 3 is greater than 2, then must be bigger than -- right? Wrong. As thousands of students head back to school next week, many will use exactly that kind of thinking when faced with fractions for the first time. New research from Concordia University shows that for children to understand math, teachers must constantly make the connection between abstract numbers and real world examples.

Related Articles


Helena Osana, associate professor in Concordia's Department of Education, and PhD candidate Nicole Pitsolantis put this theory to the test in a classroom of fifth and sixth graders. Their findings -- published in the professional journal Teaching Children Mathematics, as well as in the British Journal of Educational Psychology -- show students understand math much more clearly when teachers use pictures and concrete models to demonstrate what fractions actually mean.

Those connections are even stronger when the model is personally meaningful to the students. Write out '' on the blackboard and the concept is not so clear. Show kids of a shoelace or talk about running ⅓of the way to school and suddenly they get it.

Although teachers already use models when talking about fractions -- for instance, to show a picture of a pie with slices eaten -- they often put them away too quickly. To prove that the constant use of models made a bigger impact, Osana and Pitsolantis tried teaching with models for only part of the lesson and then the entire lesson.

They found that students showed much greater understanding when the models were continually present. "Our study shows teachers should not only include pictures and models while teaching fractions, but also have them side by side throughout the class while continually making clear connections between the concepts and the models," says Osana.

The lessons produced by this research have the potential to go beyond the classroom. "This is something not only useful for teachers but also for parents," says Osana. "Because children are studying fractions, parents think they're not able to help. But parents can have positive effect on learning too. Something as simple as writing '' out on a piece of paper, then demonstrating what it means to use of a cup of sugar, or filling up the gas tank until it reaches the mark, then writing and pointing to the numbers ',' can really go a long way towards demystifying math," she says.

Pitsolantis, who also teaches fourth and fifth grade math at Lower Canada College in Montreal, says that the depth of misunderstanding that happens when models are abandoned surprised her. She and Osana are now testing out how teachers can successfully incorporate concrete models into other grades.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "Fractions gain traction with real-life models." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160512.htm>.
Concordia University. (2013, August 27). Fractions gain traction with real-life models. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160512.htm
Concordia University. "Fractions gain traction with real-life models." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130827160512.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

'Brand Blocker' Glasses Blur Ads in Real Time

Buzz60 (Jan. 28, 2015) A team of college students design and build a pair of goggles that will obscure any corporate branding from your field of vision. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
iPhone Sales Give Apple Record Quarter

iPhone Sales Give Apple Record Quarter

AP (Jan. 28, 2015) Apple says staggering consumer demand for new iPhones has helped the company report record-smashing earnings for its latest quarter and primed its stock for a rally. (Jan. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Fiber Pressures Incumbent ISPs With Latest Expansion

Google Fiber Pressures Incumbent ISPs With Latest Expansion

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Google’s newly announced Fiber cities put it in closer competition with the likes of AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google High-Speed Service Coming to 4 Cities

Google High-Speed Service Coming to 4 Cities

AP (Jan. 28, 2015) Google is expanding its fiber-optic high-speed internet service to four cities in the Southeastern US. The company selected Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh and Nashville and their surrounding communities. (Jan. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins