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How do you teach dividing with fractions?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Mr_Mathematics, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics Occasional commenter


    Whenever I teach dividing fractions to students for the first time I've struggled to help them visualise what is happening. So I tried a new approach. Check out my blog to see what you think?

    How to visualise dividing with fractions.

    Do you do something similar or have you any other ideas?

    Feedback always welcome.

    Guish likes this.
  2. DeborahCarol

    DeborahCarol New commenter

    You've obviously been to a lot of work here. I have been dividing fractions easily, happily and quickly for 50 years without ever needing to visualise what is happening, ie I learned by multiplying the flipped fraction (or, of course, 'reciprocal'). I looked at the diagrams, and I too found it quite hard to 'visualise' using the later examples. There are some topics where I have no doubt that understanding should come first, then the process. But, in my opinion, dividing fractions isn't one of them. It will take a lot of time to get students to understand what is happening here, and I'd guess that, despite your best efforts, half at least will still not understand *and* unfortunately this could backfire by having those children feel discouraged, and that maths is really a very difficult subject. Sorry - I know we all think differently about the understanding v process thing first, and which should come first in particular topics, but, as I noticed there were no replies to date, thought I would reply.
    mathsmutt and Guish like this.
  3. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your comment Deborah.

    I think it's a good thing to have different approaches to teaching since students have a different way of learning and like you said no one approach will fit all.

    Guish and DeborahCarol like this.
  4. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    I shared it with my staff again. I think it's great to start teaching the topic with the visualization bit and teach students to master the procedural side of things too. Both should be done together. If you just show pictures and the students don't practise, it won't work either.
  5. Mr_Mathematics

    Mr_Mathematics Occasional commenter

    Totally agree Guish.
  6. Hi Jonathon and others,

    I read this thread with a lot of interest and thought about how best can the topic be taught... I am not saying I have found the 'best' way but I believe I have an alternative which I have never seen before and I believe this method holds merit.

    Please feel free to have a look, use with students and I welcome any feedback.

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