Educators are very familiar with the challenges that fractions present to our students. Children develop misconceptions about fractions that can be difficult to modify or change.
Some of these develop due to past experiences presented as truths (stating that when you multiply two numbers the answer is always bigger, or cutting a sandwich in two unequal parts and referring to them as halves).
Some misconceptions develop due to literal thinking (one half is smaller than one eighth because eight is bigger than two) and some develop due to lack of exposure to a variety of experiences and models (believing that fractions only refer to area models or that fractions are always less than one).
This book provides resources to support the development of a stronger understanding of fraction concepts.
The strength of this book lies in the promise inherent in the title. Many educators struggle to “uncomplicate” the complexity of fractions. Each section includes the important underlying ideas, the common misconceptions students may have, suggestions on how to present the information, instructional tools that will help, and good questions to ask to promote critical thinking and deeper understanding.
Although this book is organized around the American Common Core State Standards for Mathematics instructional practice and content, these are easily connected to the Mathematical Processes and Content Expectations presented in the Ontario Curriculum for Mathematics. Educators will have to make adjustments to the grade level referenced as there are some substantial differences (adding and subtracting fractions is a Grade 7 expectation in Ontario, not a Grade 4 standard as presented in the book).
Uncomplicating Fractions is a valuable resource for classroom teachers, math coaches and teacher candidates. It will help to deepen their understanding of fractions and foster conceptual awareness in their students.
Kit Luce is a member of the Simcoe County Teacher Local.