Unpacking Fractions: Classroom-Tested Strategies to Build Students' Mathematical Understanding
FOR YEARS, THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF FRACTIONS HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH ROTE MEMORIZATION. But this mechanical approach to instruction—which strips students of an ability to reason or make sense of math—has resulted in a failure of understanding.
Author Monica Neagoy, drawing on decades of research studies, evidence from teacher practice, and 25 years of experience working around the world with teachers, students, and parents, addresses seven big ideas in the teaching and learning of fractions in grades 2–6. Each idea is supported by a vignette from a real classroom, common misconceptions, a thorough unpacking of productive mathematical thinking, and several multistep and thought-provoking problems for teachers to explore.
She offers three fundamental reasons why it’s imperative for us to take a closer look at how we teach fractions:
1. Fractions play a key role in students’ feelings about mathematics.
2. Fractions are fundamental to school math and daily life.
3. Fractions are foundational to success in algebra.
While a solid grounding in algebra is necessary for a STEM career, the worthy goal of “algebra for all” will not be possible until “fractions for all” is a reality. Unpacking Fractions provides teachers with concrete strategies for achieving that reality—in short, helping all students gain the knowledge they need to feel at ease with fractions.
Sometimes you read a book and just want to shout “Bravo”! That is my reaction to Monica Neagoy’s “Unpacking Fractions” which could just as well have been subtitled “what every 3rd through 6th grade teacher of mathematics needs to know about helping their students really make sense of fractions.”
from Book Review by Steve Leinwand
MONICA NEAGOY is an author, international consultant, and popular keynote speaker with a passion for mathematics. In addition to writing books, her 25-year mathematics career has included teacher professional development, math specialist training, live television courses, video creation, math app conception, and live math shows, such as MathMagic.