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Pleading for fraction help.


kalanamak
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Kiddo and I are doing SM. He gets everything but fractions. We took a 4 week detour through books 1 and 4 of Key to Fractions last December. That seemed to work. He forgot everything, I mean EVerything in 2 weeks. We took a 4 week detour through Kumon Fractions in April-May. He has forgotten everything. In the mean time he has polished the floor with decimals, remembers the names of the types of triangles from last fall, doing better and better in word problems etc. etc.

I reviewed yesterday and his fraction knowledge is a black gaping hole. AFter an hour review a dim glimmer appeared, and he could finally work simple conversions from improper to mixed fractions. He claims to be unable to remember the words "numerator" "denominator" and "dividing line".

 

What would you do next?

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I would make "fractions" it's own school subject, reuse the Kumon books little at a time, with a short, but daily spiral review of the topics. Add in real world examples whenever they come up naturally.

 

I have always gotten better retention results using a regularly scheduled spiral review.

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My ODD's math teacher does flashbacks. There is a worksheet once a week with 10-15 problems from past math concepts. I think there were 30-35 by the end of the school year. My DD had mastered just about every concept by the end of the school year. Her end of year assessments were significantly better than the majority of her unit tests. I would put together something similar for fractions and anything else you want to help him review. I swear by this method after seeing how well my generally non-math student did in her class.

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if you arent opposed to off-color humor, Murderous Math Vile and (something) bits just calls them tops and bottoms, but constantly talks about bottoms as also being . . .well, bottoms. Its funny . . . esp for boys in the bathroom humor stage. Just as ANOTHER review, anyways. I always had trouble with the words numerator and denominator too, but I finally decided the top is the number of how many things you have . . .like if you cut a pizza in to 6 pieces and you take 2, thats 2/6, and 2 is the number of slices you have. so the other one is how many pieces you cut it in to to start with . . .

 

Oh, and for what its worth, when i started homeschooling, my older had finished 7th grade in public school, and did well in pre-algebra 1 . .. and seemed to have NO idea how to divide fractions. I was kinda shocked . . .but the point is . . its no reflection on your teaching!

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Well, I might have gotten somewhere. Today I left the Saxon placement test out for kiddo to do while I was at work. I've never seen him put so much into any work left for him to do. At the end, he counted up his errors twice and asked if it was "good enough" to not switch to Saxon.

 

It was. And he did all his math with spirit.

 

I guess that used copy of Saxon I got at Goodwill some time back was worth all 2 bucks! :lol:

 

Thanks all. I will start reinforcing at least 2 times a week. I'm digging though all my books and drill sheets etc for material, and the next really boring meeting I have to sit through, I'll start making up my own problem list.

 

(Any other ideas are still welcome. What about MM? Is her fraction business good? Could it be used as drill?)

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My ODD's math teacher does flashbacks. There is a worksheet once a week with 10-15 problems from past math concepts. I think there were 30-35 by the end of the school year. My DD had mastered just about every concept by the end of the school year.

 

If someone would do these for SM, I'd be pounding on Lulu.com's door to buy the first copy.

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Kiddo and I are doing SM. He gets everything but fractions. We took a 4 week detour through books 1 and 4 of Key to Fractions last December. That seemed to work. He forgot everything, I mean EVerything in 2 weeks. We took a 4 week detour through Kumon Fractions in April-May. He has forgotten everything. In the mean time he has polished the floor with decimals, remembers the names of the types of triangles from last fall, doing better and better in word problems etc. etc.

I reviewed yesterday and his fraction knowledge is a black gaping hole. AFter an hour review a dim glimmer appeared, and he could finally work simple conversions from improper to mixed fractions. He claims to be unable to remember the words "numerator" "denominator" and "dividing line".

 

What would you do next?

 

I'm sort of facing a similar situation. Some things I've thought of: return to MUS and do its fractions program, try Khan Academy, try a Chalkdust video, try Steck-Vaughn.

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We have a cuisenair rod book that's just for fractions: Everything's Coming Up Fractions with Cuisenaire Rods, by John Bradford. I haven't actually *used* it yet, but I absolutely LOVE c-rods. They are clear enough that my 5yo has learned some amazing things with them - including some very basic fractions ideas. I'm toying with the idea of doing a few pages from the book sooner, rather than later, since he's interested now.

 

One thing that you might do, if he's having that hard of a time with them, is check and make sure that he's got the absolute basics of them. I blogged this evening about a history lesson that accidentally turned into math because I discovered that Hero had a major gap in his understanding of the things: he thought that larger denominators means larger numbers. Alexander the Great apparently collected a 10% tribute from conquered areas, and Hero said he thought it would be very generous of him to ask for only 1/9, rather than 1/10. So we stopped and, very visually, fooled around with fractions until he understood why that wasn't actually very generous. But it seems to me that if you can ferret out misunderstandings like that that lurk beneath the surface, you might be able to figure out why the things give him so much trouble. And if you can address that, then you're golden. (At least, that's my theory!)

 

And, if he understands that the bottom number is the number of pieces, and the top is the pieces you have, is remembering the words "numerator" and "denominator" really critical?

:tongue_smilie::leaving:

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When my son has issues with a concept like this, I give him two problems a day. We do the first together, and he tries to do the second (sometimes I just give him the exact same problem) on his own. If he can't, we do it together. I've found that he does really well with me continually keeping the topic 'open' but not pushing. Usually, at some point, when his brain is ready....it clicks. Long division was like that. We did one review problem a day--first I did it with the number discs than I did it using the algorithm. Finally, it was like a light bulb just went off in his head.....I joked with him having a Eureka Moment because I believe he was, ummm, doing school in just his underwear :lol:(he runs much warmer than everyone). I think it came down to a single word choice and of course I can't remember what it was.

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We have a cuisenair rod book that's just for fractions: Everything's Coming Up Fractions with Cuisenaire Rods, by John Bradford. I haven't actually *used* it yet, but I absolutely LOVE c-rods. They are clear enough that my 5yo has learned some amazing things with them - including some very basic fractions ideas. I'm toying with the idea of doing a few pages from the book sooner, rather than later, since he's interested now.

 

Several of my fractions videos are based off of this book! The book is very slooooooow and step-by-step. Some kids might need that, though. C-rods have been a WONDERFUL tool to help my kids understand fractions. I don't see the misunderstandings in them that I do in the kids I'm tutoring this summer, and I'm pretty positive C-rods are why.

 

 

One thing that you might do, if he's having that hard of a time with them, is check and make sure that he's got the absolute basics of them. I blogged this evening about a history lesson that accidentally turned into math because I discovered that Hero had a major gap in his understanding of the things: he thought that larger denominators means larger numbers. Alexander the Great apparently collected a 10% tribute from conquered areas, and Hero said he thought it would be very generous of him to ask for only 1/9, rather than 1/10. So we stopped and, very visually, fooled around with fractions until he understood why that wasn't actually very generous. But it seems to me that if you can ferret out misunderstandings like that that lurk beneath the surface, you might be able to figure out why the things give him so much trouble. And if you can address that, then you're golden. (At least, that's my theory!)

 

And, if he understands that the bottom number is the number of pieces, and the top is the pieces you have, is remembering the words "numerator" and "denominator" really critical?

:tongue_smilie::leaving:

 

I totally agree about checking the basics. I am tutoring one child this summer specifically for fraction help. He's a bright kid, knows more than he thinks he does, but has lost confidence because of confusion in the area of fractions. All the rules get jumbled up in his head and he doesn't know what to do. After a few sessions, I finally discovered one of the big problems - he was confused about what the top number and bottom number mean. He'd say something like, "2/5? 5/10? Wait, 1/2?" So, of course, if that's confusing the rest is going to be. The thing is, if I drew a circle or rectangle and divided it up and shaded some pieces, he could tell me what fraction was shaded - I'm assuming that's because he'd done that in school a lot - but he struggled within harder problems. Using C-rods, bar diagrams, and doing some number line work has helped. Oh, and we're going through Math Mammoth Fractions, too, and I really like it so far!

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Marilyn Burns has 3 books on teaching fractions: Lessons for Introducing Fractions, Lessons for Extending Fractions and Lessons for Multiplying Fractions. Each book contains a series of hands-on lessons including games. We have worked through all 3 and my dd has a very solid sense of fractions now. You can see the books here http://store.mathsolutions.com/product-list.php?Fractions-pg1-cid63.html

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In addition to doing their normal math work each day, my older girls also have to complete a few lines from drill books to ensure that they don't forget things they've already learned. We prefer Chris McMullen's Improving Your Math Fluency series on Amazon (4-for-3 plus free shipping).

 

For example, right now my eldest does her SM lessons and then does 1 row each from the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division wbs. Once fractions, decimals, negative numbers, algebra, etc. are under her belt, we'll add in those books, too (maybe rotating through them so she doesn't have to juggle 8 drill books each day!).

 

If we don't stay on top of things with ODD, she'll forget algorithms (she has the mental approach down, but I want her to be able to use algorithms as well) - hence the need for constant review.

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If he's really hands-on, maybe it would help for him to help you convert recipes for baking. You can double a recipe, 1/2 one, give him a 1/3 cup and make him figure out how many he'd need for the different amount given in the book. Order a pizza and ask them to not slice it for you, then make him slice it up so everyone in the family gets a certain amount. These are aren't big conversions to do, but maybe it would help him to see how it could be used in real life. Makes it more relevant, so maybe it'll click for him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are using Gizmos at http://www.explorelearning.com. I joined through HSBC.

 

We really like it. The site has modules called gizmos that, once launched, the child can use to explore mathematical and scientific concepts.

 

My children were working with a fraction gizmo today. This particular one showed two bars, one on top of the other. Beside each bar was a fraction with an arrow beside the numerator and an arrow beside the denominator. The gizmo allowed the child to increase and decrease each number on each bar and watch the effect of changing the numbers.

 

Another fraction gizmo allowed them to "create" fraction tiles and drag and drop them to create equivalent fractions. We also use the physical fraction tiles, but they really enjoy learning on this site also.

 

I am not sure if he needs something at this level, but wanted to mention that the site has gizmos from elementary to high school level.

 

It is not a game, though my kids enjoy it as if it were a game. There are teacher notes and student worksheets you can print out.

 

 

Hopefully there will be a sample gizmo for you to try on fractions if you decide to check it out. I cannot remember how the trial works. You might be able to try any of them, but I think you are limited to five minutes per gizmo.

 

If you look at them, two fun ones are on density and plant growth.

Edited by besroma
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My child didn't get fractions at all, it was a gaping hole, I was so on edge about it, my friend who also homeschoolers her two ones, lent me this book called Math Art, I sat with my two kids and did 2 of the fraction ones. It was like a lightbulb went off in his heard, you could see it, seriously recommend it.

 

Check out this Amazon deal: MathART Projects and Activities (Grades 3-5) by Carolyn Ford Brunetto http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0590963716?ie=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=0590963716&linkCode=shr&tag=grastasav-20&keywords=math%20art&qid=1345417898&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1 via @amazon

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Marilyn Burns has 3 books on teaching fractions: Lessons for Introducing Fractions, Lessons for Extending Fractions and Lessons for Multiplying Fractions. Each book contains a series of hands-on lessons including games. We have worked through all 3 and my dd has a very solid sense of fractions now. You can see the books here http://store.mathsolutions.com/product-list.php?Fractions-pg1-cid63.html

 

I got the extending book ("5th grade") and it is very good. I like how there is both an outline of what to do, and then real dialogue between her and actual students. Then there are student examples. We hare three days into it, and the tension has left my breast. Thanks!

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