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Class 4 Fractions Interview

Class 4 Fractions Interview

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Internal notes on a student interview, eliciting class 4 students' ideas on fractions
Internal notes on a student interview, eliciting class 4 students' ideas on fractions

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Vishnuteerth Agnihotri on Dec 26, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Report on student interview on fractionsBasis for doing the interview
: On the previous day, a revision class was observed onfractions in Class 4 of this school. The focus of the entire class was superficialunderstanding of terms (proper, improper and mixed fractions, equivalent fractions etc.).On raising this point in the interactive session later on, the teachers voiced that thestudents would be able to answer conceptual questions related to fractions also, if theywere asked. The interview was planned to try and find out whether this really was thecase.
The mode of selection of the questions
: Though the original plan was to use only thosequestions where the students of that particular school had demonstrated a misconception(Nishchal helped in selecting those), later it was decided to use
at least one question froma past round 
. This turned out to be a good idea, as the class seemed to have been tutoredon the questions from their own paper.
A question was projected on the computer monitors around the class andwritten on the board. Students were given time to put down the correct option and think of the justification. Then the one by one the options were read out and students who hadchosen that asked to raise their hand to enable a head count.
In 2 of the questions, theanswers were read out in scrambled order for the head count, keeping the correct optionfor the last. After giving a few kids the opportunity to justify their answer to the class,students were again asked for the answer (noting to see if some had changed their answer).
Question 1(past question from ASSET):
11/4 is a number betweenA.
1 and 2
2 and 3
3 and 4
11 and 12
Initial responses: A. 2,B. 11, C. 6,D. 14 When one of the children who chose D was asked why, he said“I took the numerator andchose D.”The other children choosing this option agreed – no one had a different reasonfor choosing D.The children who chose C had a similar reason(“took the denominator 4 and option Csays between 3 and 4”)for choosing D.
The group choosing correct answer B was asked for the reasoning last, thinking that thatmight give away the answer to the class. What followed was truly surprising.Child 1 (The very first child who was questioned among those who chose B as theanswer): “When we convert 11/4 into a mixed fraction, it becomes 2 ¾. So they are thesame.”[
 At this point the class was asked if the students agree that 11/4 can be written as 2 ¾.Most students agreed. However,on being asked if they also agree that that they have the same value, only a few students said yes
.]Child 1 (continuing): “So, if wecut off the 4 from the denominator (of 2 ¾), we have 2and 3 left. So 11/4 is between 2 and 3.”At this point, one girl was very keen to say something. When called upon, she said:Child 2: “We cancut off the 2 (of 2 ¾), and then 3 and 4 remainand so we can say that itis between 3 and 4.”
[The interviewer was not sure whether she was trying to prove that ‘cutting off’ is wrong or now believed this to be the actual reason for selecting option C – on being asked it turned out to be the latter!]
On being asked if anyone had a different reason for selecting B, some kids were raisingtheir hands. One boy responded.Child 3: “Till2 ¾ it is correct, but when you cut off 4 it is wrong, 2 ¾ means it is between 2 and 3, cutting off 4 is not proper.”Interviewer: He has taken 11/4 as 2 ¾, does 11/4 mean the same as 2 ¾?All students agreed to this now.At this point, the class was asked to think about what quantity 2 ¾ represents – that is if they have 2 ¾ apples, how much is that. On taking a head count again on responses it wasfound that now: A. 2,B. 15, C. 6,D. 11. So, the whole discussion had only convinced 4 students that 2 ¾ was between 2 and 3.[
 At the end of the class, the discussion led once again to this (while discussing whether a fraction represents one quantity or 2). By having a students show ‘2 ¾ dosas’ pictoriallyon the board and than being prompted to think about whether 2 ¾ means ‘2 and a littlemore’, ‘3 and a little more’ or ’11 and a little more’, many students finally said it is 2 and a little more and therefore the answer is B.]
 ………………………………………………………………………………………………Question 2. (from round 11 ASSET paper – which this class took)
What fraction of the children in the following group are GIRLS ?(above figure was not used in the interview; it was drawn with 2 boys in top row,and 2 girls and 1 boy in bottom row)A. 2/3B. 2/5C. 3/5D. ½
(Actually, the old version of this question, which had 2 boys in the top row and 2 girlsand 1 boy in the bottom row got used accidentally. Interestingly, hardly any childoverlooked the fact that the second row had a boy among the girls, and countedcorrectly.) Not much came out of this question – with only 5 students going for option A and no onefor C or D. Interestingly, the ASSET results of this school had shown this as amisconception. It looked like this question or similar ones had been discussed in class, but there was some interesting words from the few children who initially went for optionA - 2/3.Child 4: “I saw2 (children) in the numerator column of the picture and 3 (children) in thedenominator column and wrote 2/3.”Another child explained the reason for choosing A as counting 2 girls and 3 boys andhence picking 2/3 as the answer.
Question 3(from round 11 ASSET paper – which this class took):
Arjun had 6 pencils.(picture of 6 pencils)He gave one third of the pencils he had to his sister. How many pencils did he give?

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