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.

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 August 29, 2014 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 August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spend 2 Minutes Watching This Smartwatch Roundup

Spend 2 Minutes Watching This Smartwatch Roundup

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) LG announces a round-faced smartwatch, Samsung adds 3G connectivity to its latest wearable, and Apple will reportedly announce the iWatch on Sept. 9. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Reveals Drone Delivery Program, 'Project Wing'

Google Reveals Drone Delivery Program, 'Project Wing'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Google has been developing a drone delivery system of its own, and it hopes to revolutionize how people view possessions with it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Apple Might Add Mobile Payment Options To iPhone 6

Why Apple Might Add Mobile Payment Options To iPhone 6

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) A report by Wired suggests Apple's next iPhone will feature a mobile payment system and near-field communication. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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