Academic journal article Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom

Editorial

Academic journal article Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom

Editorial

Article excerpt

Factions; there is no doubt they are troublesome for both teachers and students. Yet fractions, in all their forms, are a vital part of modern mathematics and of our day-to-day lives. A large quantity of research into the teaching and learning of fractions concepts has been conducted around the world, but much of it remains inaccessible to the people who really need the information--teachers.

This focus issue of the journal addresses three very large, important and difficult questions:

Why are fractions so troublesome to teach and learn?

What does it mean to "understand" fractions?

How can we do a better job of teaching fractions?

We are very fortunate in being able to present an excellent set of articles from researchers and teachers from across Australia. Their understandings and experiences in particular aspects of fractions, together provide a rich source of practical information that goes a long way towards answering the three difficult questions.

In the first article, Peter Gould (from New South Wales) identifies some of the key reasons that children's thinking about and understanding of fractions remains incomplete or incorrect, in particular when dealing with the symbolic notation of common fractions. His research highlights the importance of carefully considering the models or "meanings" of fractions we present to learners and the representations of fractions we ask them to work with. …

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