NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ898233
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 2
ISSN: ISSN-1073-5836
Using Number Sense to Compare Fractions
Bray, Wendy S.; Abreu-Sanchez, Laura
Teaching Children Mathematics, v17 n2 p90-97 Sep 2010
One mathematical focus for third graders is to develop deep understanding of fractions and fraction equivalence, including comparing fractions through use of models and reasoning strategies. Before reading further, consider how you might solve the following problem: Which fraction is greater, 14/24 or 17/36? The initial impulse of many adults is to solve fraction comparison problems by finding common denominators or performing cross multiplication. Yet the fractions in the question above make those methods cumbersome. Drawing pictures is another possibility, but creating drawings useful for comparison would be difficult without computer models. Which other strategies might they use to compare 14/24 and 17/36? The strategy of comparing to one-half not only is more efficient than finding common denominators or using cross multiplication for the problem-posed, but also requires conceptual and relational ways of thinking about fractions. Authors Wendy S. Bray and Laura Abreu-Sanchez furnish an overview of these conceptually based reasoning strategies followed by a description and a discussion of their efforts--and what they learned along the way--to support third graders' use of their growing conceptual knowledge of fractions to reason through fraction comparison problems, with and without the support of models. (Contains 2 figures and 2 tables.)
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: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A