Explain how to teach fourth-grade students the concept of equivalence when working with fractions with unlike denominators (finding equivalent fractions).
1. List at least three prerequisite skills to working with fractions with unlike denominators.
2. Explain how the concept of finding equivalent fractions could be introduced using manipulatives.
3. Describe the steps for finding equivalent fractions.
4. Describe how you would help students transition from concrete manipulatives to more representative paper-and-pencil problems.
5. Provide at least six equivalent fraction problems you would use to test whether students have transitioned from concrete manipulatives to representative paper-and-pencil problems.
When learning about equivalent fractions, it is important that a student understands the definition of the denominator and the numerator in order to understand which comes first. This allows the students to know what number precedes the other. They should also understand addition and division of whole sets to fractions and how this forms equivalent fractions from the whole set. Students should also understand the local common denominator and how it can be used in calculating the whole set into equivalent fractions.
Manipulatives are fundamental in when it comes to understanding fractions because students are able to have a clear mental picture of how fractions work. They include paper folding activities, circles, counters as well as Cuisenaire rods Teachers can use manipulatives at all levels of learning to enhance the understanding of fractions. Instructors can use manipulatives to introduce concepts generating equivalent fractions to promote understanding (Spitzer & Roddick, 2008).
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