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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How dare you NOT use fraction manipulatives in 4th grade?

As the fourth grade math year runs to it end, consider this:

Were fractions at least a quarter to a third of the math you covered during the year?

Did you know that fractions: equivalence, like denominators and mixed numbers are one of 3 focus standards in the new Common Core Standards adopted by many (almost all) of the 50 states in the US?

A clear understanding and broad base of experience with fractions are crucial (CRUCIAL) for a positive and useful algebra experience later on (and yes, we 4th grade teachers are partially responsible for the experience down the road).

It is not just "another topic" to cover: it is one of the three pillars of fourth grade mathematics.

Fractions taught in isolation without manipulatives is useless: so don't try cramming it all in numerically. Fractions is a HUGELY important CONCEPT, not simply another SKILL to check off.

Why should you use manipulatives?

Manipulatives serve four purposes:
  1. They engage the senses. Multi-sensory tools have been shown to dramatically increase understanding and retention. Many students, especially those who had difficulty in school, need multisensory tools to learn effectively.
  2. They help students discover concepts. This is especially true for math concepts. It can be difficult, for example, to explain how 2/4 = 1⁄2, but with when students physically moves shapes, they can prove it for themselves.
  3. They help keep students focused. Everyone appreciates a little variety. By varying activities, you help your student to stay focused and keep learning.
  4. They encourage practice. Students will often practice more with manipulatives than they will with worksheets.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are exactly, EXACTLY! what I am looking for/need. I don't want paper fraction manipulatives, yes they work just fine, but I want REAL ONES that don't tear or bend and that I don't have to tediously cut out.

Now, where to buy...?