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TEACHING FRACTIONS – and how to remove blockages

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Blockages to maths understanding are everywhere. Your role as a teacher is not to teach but to unblock as many students each day as you can. Blockages underpin so-called abilities. Your so-called low ability student is one who has multiple blockages. If you can remove these then your student is better able to understand.

Remember it is vital to talk about what something ISN’T as much as about what it is. I just saw this ABC online video clip about Quarters. Everything there was fine. Cute female child’s voice over, clear graphics. All good. BUT … the biggest problem your students have in fractions is understanding far more than that, far more than just one explanation. What is NOT a quarter, what is NOT an equal part? What happens if there are only 3 equal parts? What happens if there are now five equal parts? Talking about “positive” things is only part of the solution. Talking about ‘negative’ things is also a vital component.

This video clip will be a fantastic starting point for a discussion with your class. Try to generate as many alternative questions that need answering. Get your students to explain to a partner what is and is not a quarter. Get them to draw pictures of what they think represents quarters and non-quarters. Try to spot misunderstandings that can then be shared with the whole class.

For more targeted fraction activities click here.

For more targeted fraction photographs click here.

For more targeted fraction graphics click here.