Fractions can be a difficult subject for some students. Even students who seem to “get it” when doing simpler fraction work may become quickly confused by more complex skills such as comparing or adding fractions.
So, what can a teacher or parent do to help students develop a deeper understanding of fractions?
Start with concrete, and real world examples:
How about pizza! Yum! If you are at home you can use a real pizza to discuss how the equal parts of your pizza make a whole. For example if your pizza is cut into 8 equal slices, talk to your child about how each slice is one-eighth of the whole pizza. If you are making your own pizza you can slice it into halves first, then fourths, then eighths and discuss the pattern that you develop. As the pizza is cut into smaller pieces, there are more pieces to make the whole. In the classroom, you can use “pretend pizza” like this one from Learning Resources. Or you can have your students make their own pizzas out of paper plates. Fun!
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It is very important for students to understand the meaning behind multiplication. It is also important for them to master multiplication facts so that they may apply them to other types of math. They need to know the multiples of numbers to simplify fractions, solve large division problems, see patterns, understand algebra, and so much more.
Being fluent with Math is similar to being fluent in Reading. If a student knows his sight words and only has to sound out a few unfamiliar words he is able to read a paragraph or story fluently, and comprehend it. However, if he has to sound out all of the words as he reads, the paragraph or passage will take a long time and fluency will be weaker and comprehension compromised.