Using Representations of Fraction Multiplication

  • Using Representations of Fraction Multiplication

    Corey Webel, Erin Krupa, and Jason McManus
    Contextual tasks such as the Milk problem and the Cupcake problem can illuminate operations with fractions, but not all visual models align with the standards.
    A perusal of the fraction standards in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) (CCSSI 2010) reveals a heavy emphasis on visual fraction models, a term that is used eighteen times in the five pages that spell out fraction competencies for students in grades 3–5. A visual fraction model is defined in the document as “a tape diagram, number line diagram, or area model” (p. 87). These kinds of diagrams and models can be used to illustrate important fraction concepts, such as why a common whole is necessary to compare fractions or why common-size pieces (as indicated by the denominator) can be used to compare or add fractions (Ortiz 2006; Bray and Abreu-Sanchez 2010; Cramer, Wyberg, and Leavit 2008).
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