Mathematics anxiety often develops in children around grade 3, when children begin not only learning the times table but working with fractions as well. What if instead of fearing fractions, children had more foundational experience with fractions? How could learning about fractions be more grounded in real-life examples and exploration? Perhaps children could develop a stronger “fraction sense”, similar to the number sense they spend so much time expanding.
Children spend a great deal of time learning to use whole numbers to answer “how many”. They should also learn fractions to answer “how much”.
- Through repeated exposure to real-life scenarios in which the “answer” is a fraction, children can build the foundations necessary to understand fractions as posed in the Common Core Standards.
- Just as children learn to recite whole numbers and count using whole numbers through various activities in daily life, providing ample opportunities for them to use fractions in daily life can aid in achieving a base knowledge for learning about fractions.
- Early exposure to fraction tasks and vocabulary in real-life contexts reduces memorizing meaningless steps to solve fraction problems later in elementary school and beyond.
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About the Authors
Prof. Raz Kupferman
Einstein Institute of Mathematics
Professor of mathematics at the Hebrew University. Former Chair of the Einstein Institute of Mathematics. Former head of the mathematics middle school curricular committee. Author of “Elementary School Mathematics for Teachers and Parents”. Co-founder of Matific and Chief Scientist.
In 2007 Prof. Raz inaugurated a professional development program in mathematics for primary school teachers, focusing on the subject matter and on the resolution of pedagogical dilemmas. Within ten years, over 1,000 teachers had attended this program.
From 2012 to 2014 he headed an MOE curricular committee, which wrote a new middle-school curriculum in mathematics. In 2012 he co-founded Matific, and since then has been its Chief Scientists and Head of Pedagogy. Raz Kupferman is the author of Elementary School Mathematics for Parents and Teachers (World Scientific Eds.).
Prof. Shimon Schocken
TED Speaker | Computer Scientist | Educator
Shimon Schocken is the founding dean and professor at the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science at IDC Herzliya. He also taught at NYU, Harvard, and Stanford, and was chairman of the Israeli ministry of education's computer science committee.
The courses that Shimon developed were adopted by 200+ universities, and are listed in Coursera's top-rated courses. His work is described in a best-selling MIT Press book and in popular TED talks.
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