ERIC Number: EJ1059859
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
Conceptual Mis(understandings) of Fractions: From Area Models to Multiple Embodiments
Zhang, Xiaofen; Clements, M. A.; Ellerton, Nerida F.
Mathematics Education Research Journal, v27 n2 p233-261 Jun 2015
Area-model representations seem to have been dominant in the teaching and learning of fractions, especially in primary school mathematics curricula. In this study, we investigated 40 fifth grade children's understandings of the unit fractions, 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4, represented through a variety of different models. Analyses of pre-teaching test and interview data revealed that although the participants were adept at partitioning regional models, they did not cope well with questions for which unit fractions were embodied in non-area-model scenarios. Analyses of post-teaching test and interview data indicated that after their participation in an instructional intervention designed according to Dienes' (1960) dynamic principle, the students' performances on tests improved significantly, and their conceptual understandings of unit fractions developed to the point where they could provide reasonable explanations of how they arrived at solutions. Analysis of retention data, gathered more than 3 months after the teaching intervention, showed that the students' newly found understandings had, in most cases, been retained.
Descriptors: Mathematics Instruction, Elementary School Mathematics, Grade 5, Mathematical Concepts, Teaching Methods, Interviews, Mathematics Skills, Pretests Posttests, Intervention, Mathematics Achievement, Achievement Gains, Concept Formation, Problem Solving, Instructional Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A