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fraction help for 9yo


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Please help me before my 9yo (4th grade) drives me absolutely bonkers.

She does not get fractions AT ALL beyond identifying how many parts have been shaded on a shape divided into equal parts, ie if shown a picture of a shape divided into 3rds with 1 piece shaded she can correctly identify that is 1/3 shaded. That is it. We have been stuck on fractions for months now, she is getting nowhere. Nowhere!

I have tried different books, I have explained it, dh has explained it, she has watched lessons online. Nothing works. What can we try? Does anyone have any resources they can recommend to help her? She has taken time off hoping a break would help, we have tried different approaches including hands on and different curriculum, we have done other math areas and moved sideways for a while, more time off, we are getting no where. She cannot move forward without getting this, she has completed all other concepts at this level besides decimals which obviously requires an understanding of fractions. She is just stuck and has been for ages.

So, tried and true fractions help and instruction for a kid who just does not get fractions. What would you recommend? We are open to anything!

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1 hour ago, LEK said:

She needs to be able to simplify a fraction, say 2/4 into 1/2 etc and to be able to find and identify fractions on a number line

There's a visual fractions site that might help--just Google 'visual fractions'. I also printed out an equivalent fractions game from Pinterest my kid enjoys. I'd try to use manipulatives and visuals in order to teach and practice these points. You could use yarn as the number line & have her place fraction cards (w/ pix) on it--that helped my child. Having 'fraction talks' can help as well--Google that too. It's 3 AM so I cannot pull out more ideas now but if I think of more, I'll add to my post. There's enough here to get you started though!

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Fraction Formula.  We've adapted the game to grow with my kid, but for some reason the 3D pieces work a hundred times better for him than the flat circles and lines in math curricula. It starts out with the simple instructions of building to "1" without going over.  As he got further along, we started introducing equivalents and then creating games where you had to pull cards to fill a tube all at once (it's just the two of us playing, so we each take two tubes).  It was honestly the best accidental purchase I made.  I put it in my cart because someone else here mentioned it, then forgot about it, and when I ordered household stuff....oops!  ?  But it shows off fractions in a way he really gets - and I have everything else that he just didn't: MUS tiles, Right Start games and pieces, fraction circles, measuring cups...

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I would start with a big pile of M&Ms and some paper. 

I would lay out 12 M&Ms in a pile.  I would then draw a rectangle, a circle, and a number line going from 0 to 1.  I would emphasize and make sure she understands the concept that each of the figures is a different way of representing the whole pile of 12 M&Ms.  Whole rectangle = whole pile of M&Ms.  Whole circle = whole pile of M&Ms.  Whole length of the number line from 0 to 1 = whole pile of M&Ms. 

Then I would tell her that I would like her to eat half of the M&Ms.  Once she has successfully eaten 6, I would immediately move back to the paper.  Divide your rectangle into a grid (3x4 or 2x6).  Remind her that the whole rectangle represented the whole pile of M&Ms, and explain that now each little grid box represents one of the M&Ms that was in the pile.  Ask her to color in the grid boxes to show how many she ate.  Emphasize that she ate 6 out of the 12 M&Ms which is half of the total pile.  Her rectangle shows the fraction 6/12, which is the way to show half of a group of 12 objects.

I would move on to the circle and divide that into 12 slices.  I would go through the same procedure of coloring in 6 slices and making sure she understood that 6/12 = 1/2.

Lastly I would move on to the number line and go through the same steps.  Divide into 12ths, color 6, emphasize that 6/12 = 1/2.

To really make sure she has it down, I would then give her a pile of 8 M&Ms and have her draw the same three representations, eat half the M&Ms and then show on each figure that 4/8 = 1/2.

I would keep working with only halves until she had that concept down rock solid, then I would go back to a pile of 12 M&Ms and tell her that this time I wanted her to eat 1/3.  Again have her represent that fraction on all three figures.  Practice with 1/3, then 1/4, then 1/5.  Once she can do these in her sleep, then see how she does with 2/3 and 3/5.

I would not rush the process.  I would work a couple fractions, let her sleep on that, and then she if she can replicate the work the next day.  Slow and steady to build a firm understanding.

Wendy

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6 hours ago, LEK said:

Please help me before my 9yo (4th grade) drives me absolutely bonkers.

She does not get fractions AT ALL beyond identifying how many parts have been shaded on a shape divided into equal parts, ie if shown a picture of a shape divided into 3rds with 1 piece shaded she can correctly identify that is 1/3 shaded. That is it. We have been stuck on fractions for months now, she is getting nowhere. Nowhere!

I have tried different books, I have explained it, dh has explained it, she has watched lessons online. Nothing works. What can we try? Does anyone have any resources they can recommend to help her? She has taken time off hoping a break would help, we have tried different approaches including hands on and different curriculum, we have done other math areas and moved sideways for a while, more time off, we are getting no where. She cannot move forward without getting this, she has completed all other concepts at this level besides decimals which obviously requires an understanding of fractions. She is just stuck and has been for ages.

So, tried and true fractions help and instruction for a kid who just does not get fractions. What would you recommend? We are open to anything!

Right start fraction chart!

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Food fractions worked for my DD on this concept. I took a chocolate bar that had pre-designed squares (Hershey). I broke the bar in half and gave her one side and I took one side. I asked her how much she has (1/2). Then I asked sled her to break her piece in half and I broke mine in half. I then said "do you still have the same amount?" (Yes) I told her we still have half of the bar but we have just broken it into more pieces. So now how many total pieces do we have combined because that is our denominator (4) then I said "you still have half but we can also say you have 2 of the total four pieces right? 

We broke our pieces one last time so she had 4 out of 8 and then we pulled put our Rightstart fraction mat and pieces to see the same thing a different way and we labeled our chocolate bar with the pieces. Then we ate it ?

 

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23 hours ago, LEK said:

She needs to be able to simplify a fraction, say 2/4 into 1/2 etc and to be able to find and identify fractions on a number line

 

17 hours ago, nixpix5 said:

Food fractions worked for my DD on this concept. I took a chocolate bar that had pre-designed squares (Hershey). I broke the bar in half and gave her one side and I took one side. I asked her how much she has (1/2). Then I asked sled her to break her piece in half and I broke mine in half. I then said "do you still have the same amount?" (Yes) I told her we still have half of the bar but we have just broken it into more pieces. So now how many total pieces do we have combined because that is our denominator (4) then I said "you still have half but we can also say you have 2 of the total four pieces right? 

We broke our pieces one last time so she had 4 out of 8 and then we pulled put our Rightstart fraction mat and pieces to see the same thing a different way and we labeled our chocolate bar with the pieces. Then we ate it ?

 

 

This is what we are doing with my 9 yo dd.  she does get it as we do it though sometimes she still messes up the process on paper.  She does understand why she just forgets steps.

i think this is a pretty common problem my eldest needed to do singapores extra practice fraction unit to get it.  And then when it came to  fraction division he was lost for ages.  And I know so many adults that say they still don't understand it.

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On 6/2/2018 at 4:03 AM, underthebridge said:

There are some more ideas here

Fractions are difficult to teach. I found this resource helpful. 

http://gdaymath.com/courses/fractions-are-hard/

Good luck, OP!

 

Exactly - fractions are challenging!  I found the same gdaymath website a while back - they did a wonderful and funny job of presenting the complexity of fractions (Professor Aharoni's Arithmetic for Parents also mentions that fractions are "complex").

Linear divisions of chocolate do help ease us into the number line.  The reducing of fractions is easy to see visually, but it's more complicated to prove in written expressions.  We use a lot of manipulatives to explain, draw the number line, and write decimal equivalents of fractions. 

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Does she understand that a fraction is another way to communicate division? Much like multiplication is a "fast way" to add (9x3 is faster than 3+3+3+3+3+3+3+3+3) a fraction is a "fast way" or another way to divide.

1/12 is the same as dividing the whole into 12 parts. The bottom number tells you how many pieces to divide or split the whole thing into. The top number tells you how many pieces you want once they are split.

For simplifying we work with something like Cuissenaire rods or drawings like those rods. Asking lots of "which is more?" Questions as they will figure out that often they are equal.

If we are looking at 2/6 being the same as 1/3 I would make a concrete example with a number like 6. For 2/6...6 is divided into 6 pieces (the number on the bottom). How big is each piece then? 1 unit square (using Cuissenaire rods). So lay one 6 rod on the table with 6 ones on top. How many parts do you want (top number)? 2 (the top number of 2/6). So lift 2 of the squares up slightly.

Repeat with  1/3. Divide by 3. Take 1 piece. Which is more? They are the same.

I use MEP and it introduces fractions this way and neither of my kids have struggled because it is just another way to express division, which they already have learned.

 

 

 

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For us, Developing Fraction Sense by Borenson (same people who do Hands On Equations) worked really well. You want to look under Parent Materials to find this. I believe you can order from Rainbow Resources as well.

http://www.borenson.com/Products/DevelopingFractionsSenseStudentWorkbookA/tabid/1636/Default.aspx

 

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