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ERIC Number: EJ1077883
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Unpacking the Division Interpretation of a Fraction
Poon, Rebecca C.; Lewis, Priscilla Eide
Teaching Children Mathematics, v22 n3 p178-185 Oct 2015
One of the challenges in learning fractions is understanding how and why a fraction can have multiple interpretations. As presented in one textbook, a fraction is "a symbol, such as 2/3, 5/1, or 8/5, used to name a part of a whole, a part of a set, a location on a number line, or a division of whole numbers" (Charles et al. 2012, p. 475). How can a fraction take so many forms? In particular, why is a fraction also a division of whole numbers (e.g., 13/7 = 13 ÷ 7)? In this article, the authors will present examples of classroom lessons that support children in developing conceptual understanding of the division interpretation of a fraction by building on children's knowledge of whole-number division. Children demonstrate conceptual understanding by: (1) using the partitive interpretation of division to construct a definition for the division of any two whole numbers; and (2) using established definitions and observations to show why the fraction m/n equals the division m ÷ n. A bibliography is included.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 6; Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A