Just saving my work so it doesn't get lost. If you found your way here check back in a week or two...there will be pics and vids and links and stuff meantime click that other page that says FRACTIONS which is not much better but soon this page will replace that one...
Using base ten blocks to teach fractions makes life easier for everybody. The fact that fractions are so misunderstood has become a joke. What you will find on this page besides the basics and links to videos and blog posts are some of the reasons WHY so many fail at not only understanding fractions but why so many teachers fail to teach them well.
I have found that next to long division, fractions are one of the most reviled topics in mathematics until we get to algebra. I myself went to summer school because of fractions but after just one day with a good teacher I understood basic operations with fraction and I distinctly remember telling my mother I had it wired and didn't really need to go back but I wanted to because of all the other cool stuff that was going on there...she tested me and I got every question right. What was made clear is that the rules didn't change when we got to fractions...once a few misconceptions were cleared up the rest was easy. I never really did learn WHY you invert and multiply until I met Jerry Mortensen...and even then he didn't explain it to me he made me explain it to myself.
Only when the company held customer focus groups did it become clear why. The Third Pounder presented the American public with a test in fractions. And we failed. Misunderstanding the value of one-third, customers believed they were being overcharged. Why, they asked the researchers, should they pay the same amount for a third of a pound of meat as they did for a quarter-pound of meat at McDonald’s. The “4” in “¼,” larger than the “3” in “⅓,” led them astray.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/magazine/why-do-americans-stink-at-math.html
of Ma's four questions was to divide 1 3/4 by 1/2 and to make up a
story for this problem. Only 9 of the 23 American teachers gave the
correct answer in an appropriate form (3 3/4 or 7/2 or 3.5). Several
gave incomplete answers like 14/4 or 28/8, whereas six gave no answer.
All 72 Chinese teachers gave the correct
answer in an appropriate form. Many of the American teachers who
answered correctly were merely recalling a procedure (invert the
denominator and multiply) that they could not explain. The Chinese
teachers not only knew how to divide fractions; most of them could also
suggest alternate methods that would have enabled them to connect
division of fractions to a student's prior knowledge, or to alert a good
student to approaches that might be simpler under some circumstances."