Understanding Fractions: A Focus on the Fundamental Concepts

Understanding Fractions: A Focus on the Fundamental Concepts

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Research consistently has shown that fractions are one of the most widely misunderstood concepts in mathematics, both by children and adults. For this reason, I performed an action research study in which I worked with a struggling sixth-grade student in a fairly affluent, suburban school district near a major metropolitan area. We focused on the fundamental concepts of fractions twice a week for six and a half weeks during our after-school tutoring sessions. I documented my observations after each lesson in a teacher journal, detailing the obstacles, successes, and other things that occurred. The overall objective of my unit was for my student, Katie, to develop a greater understanding of fractions by returning to the basic concepts. In addition, another important goal was for Katie to build her mathematical confidence. Among a number of hands-on and interactive lessons, Katie engaged in a design challenge in which she created her own fraction quilt by applying her understanding of various fraction concepts. Through analysis of this project, my teacher journal, pre- and post-assessments, and other activities, I determined that Katie's understanding of fractions has increased to some extent. Additional time and practice is needed for Katie to establish a deeper understanding of fractions, but she did make progress over the course of the unit. Furthermore, she needs to develop better problem solving and critical thinking skills because she relies too much on the teacher for guidance through her work. I also discovered that the design project was a great motivator for Katie. Her success with the creation of the fraction quilt helped build confidence, and I believe that participating in more interactive projects, such as this one, would continue to motivate her and make her feel successful in math.post-assessment suggests that she now has a better grasp of comparing fractions to the values of zero, one-half, and one whole, ... For question three parts A and B on the pre-assessment, she wrote fractions not in lowest terms while on theanbsp;...

Title:Understanding Fractions: A Focus on the Fundamental Concepts
Author: Jessica Morris
Publisher:ProQuest - 2009

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