# Fractions re-teaching and review

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Son is getting fractions so far, no problem. He seems to just get it, so far anyway. But it was like that with oldest child and later, I found he needed help and we ended up scrambling to re-teach. I did tutoring and teaching in the past and already knew fractions is an area where kids tend to struggle, AND it has skills that really set the base for higher math. In the past, I have always used Keys to Fractions. I really like Keys to Fractions. But, I have seen so many other resources lately that I am wondering if any of them would be worth doing instead. I saw MM has a section on just fractions as well as Right Start. I know Math U See also has stuff. And I am open to computer games and apps. And maybe Keys to Fractions is the best way to go. We have already completed the first book anyway. I am unsure what else there is for fractions, there just seems to be a lot more than I remember.  So I am hoping for reviews and suggestions.

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https://www.wootmath.com. is free up to a point.  They limit how many of their adaptive learning modules you can assign without paying.  Last summer I assigned my kids all 3 adaptive fractions levels as a review.

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3 hours ago, Janeway said:

In the past, I have always used Keys to Fractions. I really like Keys to Fractions. <snip> We have already completed the first book anyway.

Honestly, I think this is your answer - you've used it, you like it, you're currently using it, and it's presumably working - you're probably better off resisting the "grass is greener" syndrome.

My oldest did *not* get fractions, so I have tried several things: LoF, MM, MUS, and Keys.  Of those, MUS was probably the most helpful - all the manipulative work provided a concrete conceptual base - but that might be overkill if he already basically gets fractions.  The best part of MUS was the fraction overlays, and they only wanted to use them when they needed them to understand the problem; once they understood what was going on, they quit using them.

What ended up working best for us, in cementing fraction understanding, was going through the fraction chapters in our pre-alg program (Dolciani).  So maybe keep that in mind in choosing a pre-alg program, to get one that hits fractions thoroughly and well, for extra fraction reinforcement.

But as for right now, in your shoes I'd still continue on with Keys to Fractions as long as it is working.

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3 hours ago, forty-two said:

Honestly, I think this is your answer - you've used it, you like it, you're currently using it, and it's presumably working - you're probably better off resisting the "grass is greener" syndrome.

My oldest did *not* get fractions, so I have tried several things: LoF, MM, MUS, and Keys.  Of those, MUS was probably the most helpful - all the manipulative work provided a concrete conceptual base - but that might be overkill if he already basically gets fractions.  The best part of MUS was the fraction overlays, and they only wanted to use them when they needed them to understand the problem; once they understood what was going on, they quit using them.

What ended up working best for us, in cementing fraction understanding, was going through the fraction chapters in our pre-alg program (Dolciani).  So maybe keep that in mind in choosing a pre-alg program, to get one that hits fractions thoroughly and well, for extra fraction reinforcement.

But as for right now, in your shoes I'd still continue on with Keys to Fractions as long as it is working.

Do you think MM was as good as Keys to? I can just download and print MM.

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How good is your understanding of fractions and your ability to communicate that understanding?

If you comprehend fractions well yourself and you can teach fractions, then buy nothing else. There isn't anything magical about Math Mammoth (which we did every grade level of and many of the upper level supplements as well), or Key to Fractions (we also used all 4-books in that series).

If you understand the topic and can convey your understanding of that topic then the only difference between math books is the formatting or layout of the text itself. Because the books are going to boil down to being just a collection of graduated exercises that students complete to gain fluency at various thought-processes, manipulations, calculations, relationships, etc.

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Posted (edited)

I'm familiar with MM and Key to... Asking if MM is as good as Key to Fractions is just comparing two different approaches in my mind. In some ways, MM is better - more practice, more problems, more challenging problems, perfect for a thorough teaching of the subject... In some ways Key to is better - succinct, cuts right to the heart of the concepts, incredibly well laid out, not visually overwhelming, perfect for many struggling students or for review or for a student who grasps concepts quickly and wants to move on...

I think it just depends on what you want. But I second the idea that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. You like Key to, it's a good resource. I wouldn't change it up just to see if the grass is greener.

In terms of laying foundational concepts, I don't think anything can beat the Cuisenaire rods for learning how to understand fractions.

Edited by Farrar
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15 hours ago, Gil said:

How good is your understanding of fractions and your ability to communicate that understanding?

If you comprehend fractions well yourself and you can teach fractions, then buy nothing else. There isn't anything magical about Math Mammoth (which we did every grade level of and many of the upper level supplements as well), or Key to Fractions (we also used all 4-books in that series).

If you understand the topic and can convey your understanding of that topic then the only difference between math books is the formatting or layout of the text itself. Because the books are going to boil down to being just a collection of graduated exercises that students complete to gain fluency at various thought-processes, manipulations, calculations, relationships, etc.

I second this. When we come a topic my son doesn't understand and I am unable to teach it and we cannot or don't want to wait for ”Professor Daddy” to explain it we’ve been able to find (usually) a multitude of videos on YouTube that explain the topic. When he was little we went down the math picture book rabbit hole. Many of these titles are listed in SWB’s WTM book. Maybe you could watch some videos and then teach a few concepts? I have seen a lot of fruit from this.

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17 hours ago, Janeway said:

Do you think MM was as good as Keys to? I can just download and print MM.

57 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Asking if MM is as good as Key to Fractions is just comparing two different approaches in my mind.

This.

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Usborne has a good fractions and decimals book that my kids had fun reading.  A lot of tab lifting.  It was a good supplement.

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I'm a math tutor. In my experience, ALL students need fraction revision through 8th grade, and MOST need fraction revision through 10th grade.  In fact, sometimes we do a bit of revision while concurrently working on calculus in 12th grade.  So have him learn it, learn it again, and learn it about 5 more times.  Each year it will go faster and be easier.  Fractions are not one of those things that most kids just master, remember forever, and move on.

Ruth in NZ

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From my perspective, fractions are simply division. If you’re solid on division before you start them, it saves you a lot of grief.

I actually think division with remainders muddies the water, by the way.

Edited by square_25

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I haven't used this, but given our mind blowing success with their reading program, thought I'd mention it. http://www.abcdrp.com/abcd-fractions

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I much preferred MM to Key To Fractions

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On 10/10/2019 at 3:55 PM, lewelma said:

I'm a math tutor. In my experience, ALL students need fraction revision through 8th grade, and MOST need fraction revision through 10th grade.  In fact, sometimes we do a bit of revision while concurrently working on calculus in 12th grade.  So have him learn it, learn it again, and learn it about 5 more times.  Each year it will go faster and be easier.  Fractions are not one of those things that most kids just master, remember forever, and move on.

Ruth in NZ

Any particular thing you use to test their knowledge or offer the student for these reviews?

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On 10/12/2019 at 4:55 PM, arliemaria said:

Any particular thing you use to test their knowledge or offer the student for these reviews?

Nope. I just bring it up as the need requires.  Just yesterday, I reviewed with a 15 year old how to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers. Drew lots of pizzas. 🙂

With a different 15-year-old kid this week, I reviewed how multiplying fractions work. He was writing 2/3 times 3 with the 3 in the middle of the line, and then thought that you multiply the numerator and the denominator by 3.  So we covered the idea that 3 is actually 3 over 1.  And how it is always better to avoid writing *anything* in the middle, because there is no middle, there is only a numerator and a denominator.  Then we looked at how to actually do 2/3 of 3 pizzas conceptually, and then how to do the computation algorithmically.

I just review fractions  all. the. time. Always twice. Once conceptually, and then once for computation.

Edited by lewelma

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Sigh.  Lewelma I wish you were my next door neighbor!

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I wouldn't add anything extra for fraction practice.  I'd just reteach as necessary.  For both my kids, the thing that finally cemented fractions completely was when they learned about algebraic fractions in Algebra 1.  I think it works because when you have letters instead of numbers, everything that needs to be done is explicit; nothing is "hidden" inside of numbers.

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5 hours ago, EKS said:

I wouldn't add anything extra for fraction practice.  I'd just reteach as necessary.  For both my kids, the thing that finally cemented fractions completely was when they learned about algebraic fractions in Algebra 1.  I think it works because when you have letters instead of numbers, everything that needs to be done is explicit; nothing is "hidden" inside of numbers.

I actually had a kid who could NOT learn fractions, just could not get it no matter what I tried for at least 6 months. But he still had to take algebra.

So during algebra, he learned algebraic fractions, they were just hitting a different part of his brain because they were just algorithmic. There was no way he could actually conceptually understand them, so he just memorized the algorithm so he could get them right. And once he mastered algebraic fractions, I used them to teach him numerical fractions in a conceptual way. Once he had the structure of fractional computation firmly in place in an abstract way with algebra, he could convert his understanding to actual numbers, and then develop insight into the concepts. So the learning can go both directions.

Edited by lewelma