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Common Core Helps Kids Grasp Fractions

Common Core Helps Kids Grasp Fractions

Though one educator understands the issues involved in the ongoing debate on Common Core standards, he applauds its math curriculum for making fractions easier for children to understand with its use of a number line.

"Certain aspects of the Common Core, when implemented, are likely to have a positive impact on the instruction of mathematics. For example, the Common Core standards stress that students recognize fractions as numbers on a number line" beginning in third grade, educator Tom Loveless said on EducationNext.org.

With American textbooks traditionally relying on the part-whole method to teaching students fractions, Loveless says this way is more confusing in getting students to understand.

"The part-whole representation has convinced many students that fractions are not numbers. Instead, they are seen as strange expressions comprising two numbers with a small horizontal bar separating them," he said. He said that understanding dividing fractions is almost impossible for students under the part-whole approach.

"You have no idea how many children do not make the transition to understanding fractions as numbers and because of stumbling at this crucial stage, spend the rest of their careers as students of mathematics convinced that fractions are an impenetrable mystery."

For this reason, Loveless believes the Common Core math standards that introduce the number line and fractions in the third grade will be beneficial in helping more students grasp that fractions are numbers and understand working with them.

"That foundational understanding will aid them as they work with more abstract representations of fractions in later grades. Fractions are a monumental barrier for kids who struggle with math, so the significance of this contribution should not be underestimated," he said.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/21/2015

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