Teaching Fractions with Understanding: Part-whole Concept

May 19th, 2015
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In her studies of children learning about rational numbers, Grace Lopez-Charles [see Note 1 below] has identified some different perspectives through which children see fractions. This article starts looking at some of those perspectives, firstly by considering what happens in situations where learners are trying to create equal shares. From sharing using halves learners

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Teaching Fractions with Understanding: Part-whole ConceptArticle | Printable page | Article by Stage: 1, 2 and 3 In her studies of children learning about rational numbers, Grace Lopez-Charles [see Note 1 below] has identified some different perspectives through which children see fractions. This article starts looking at some of those perspectives, firstly by considering what happens in situations where learners are trying to create equal shares. From sharing using halves learners move to partitioning using other divisions, such as fifths or sixths. This results in the need to develop understandings of equivalence which is discussed in the second section of this article. Finally, we look at some ways of teaching fractions more effectively that arise from Grace's work.Equal sharesWorking with halvesThis strategy appears to be based upon halves because children are confident with this concept. This approach is more common among younger children, although in her studies Grace has seen many children between the ages of 7 and 10 adopting it too. Using this method, the child starts by splitting each region or composite unit into two parts. So, sharing three chocolate bars b

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