Engaging Students with Multiple Models

  • Engaging Students with Multiple Models

    Xiaofen Zhang, M. A. (Ken) Clements, and Nerida F. Ellerton
    Pouring water to create equal shares is just one of the multimodal activities in this collection, which is designed to assist elementary school students in gaining a rich understanding of unit fractions.
    An understanding of unit fractions, and especially of one-half, one-third, and one-fourth, is crucially important for elementary school children’s development of number sense (CCSSI 2010). We describe multimodal activities designed to assist elementary school students in gaining a rich understanding of unit fractions. Research has shown (Zhang 2012) that participation in the activities described in this article helped fifth-grade students develop wider imagery and deepen their understandings with respect to unit fractions concepts. A body of literature is developing that is directed at teachers who wish to fruitfully engage elementary school students in concept-rich fractions activities (e.g., Ball 1993; Ball, Thames, and Phelps 2008; Barnett-Clarke et al. 2010; Chval et al. 2013).
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