Understanding Fractions

Introducing fractions in the traditional abstract way (a/b) has the risk that the concept is not connected with your child’s previous daily life experiences. The new concept is ‘hanging loose’ and it will be almost impossible to access and apply it later on.

If this sounds like what is happening with your child: read on, there is a simple cure:

Like with many other mathematical concepts, we overlook that most children already have a basic idea about fractions. Storybooks tell about dividing treasures and kids see things being dived at the kitchen table and in school all the time, so they have formed an understanding in their mind about what dividing something into fractions is.

This is a valuable developmental step and a child feels really proud when we acknowledge that her understanding of how you can share and divide things into smaller parts is important.

The boxed conversation starters do not put the child on the spot and do not add to the usual math anxiety. Your child’s answer shows us the key to the preferred type of examples, that will help your child link the new knowledge to what she has already anchored in her long term memory. It tells you how to guide your child to the proverbial door knob that will open the door to deeper understanding and successful application of the fractions concept in different types of questions.

How to use the Fractions Booklet

What does it mean to share? How do we use fractions in our daily lives? Asking questions makes learning interactive and fun. Time and again it is proven that engaging in a conversation or an activity is the most effective way to learn!

Title: My Fractions Book

1. Do you know family and friends to share with?
2. What are things you can share? What is the name for a part or fraction?
3. How can you divide something to share it?
4. How do you know you divide evenly so you have equal parts? What is a fraction?
5. How do you know how big your part is?
6. How do you tell somebody else what her part is?
7. What are ways to divide a round item, like a pizza?
8. What are ways to divide a rectangular item, like a chocolate bar

The boxed suggestions are communication starters. Be sure to ask questions on the go like: what is the best example and how would you say that? Use these examples and wording wherever you can.

The answers to these questions give you insight in your child’s thinking and progress so you can give as many specific compliments as possible and you can help exactly where needed. The written answers or drawings will show your child’s understanding. If you see a glitch, do not rush through the book thinking that it will magically ‘click’ later on, but take the time to ask more guiding questions and redo difficult pages before going on. When completed, staple the book together with a nice cover as a keep sake. Give ample praise.