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Session 1. 1 and the definition of Fraction In session 1, the class will consider the concept of one. Using this concept, we will define a fraction and look at various representations of common fractions. Session 2. Equivalent Fractions In session 2, the class will consider the equivalence of fractions. We will see two representations of the concept of equivalent fractions, one using tessellations of the plane into rectangles and the other using the multiplication table. Session 3. Inequality In session 3, the class will consider inequality of fractions. We will take some fractions, such as 2/5 and 3/7, and investigate which is larger using the Math Enginetm . Session 4. Adding (Subtracting) Fractions with Like Denominators In session 4, the class will see the handson representation of adding and subtracting two fractions with the same denominator. Session 5. Adding (Subtracting) Fractions with Unlike Denominators In session 5, we will extend the idea of adding and subtracting two fractions to fractions with unlike denominators. We will also address the concept of finding the least common denominator, showing how this is manifested with the manipulative. Session 6. Multiplying Fractions Session 7. Canceling Common Factors While Multiplying Fractions In sessions 6 and 7, we will address the idea of multiplying two fractions using the math manipulative. We will look at multiplication, reciprocals, and the idea of canceling like factors in the numerator and denominator when multiplying fractions. Session 8. Dividing Fractions In session 8, the class will see how dividing fractions is essentially the same as dividing two whole numbers. We will see why invert and multiply works in dividing one fraction by another. Session 9. Ratio and Proportion In session 9, the class will investigate the relationship between fractions and proportion. We will solve in a handson manner the proportion 2/5 =x/7. We will see how this relates to other problems, such as percentage. Session 10. Wrapup and Discussion. In session 10, the class will review the ideas covered in the workshop. The instructor will answer questions and lead a discussion about how the concepts learned in the workshop can be used in the students’ classroom lessons and teaching.
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Handson Fractions Using Balls
The concepts of fractions can seem mysterious and frightening. What does it mean to say that 1/2 and 3/6 are the same fraction, i.e. they are equivalent? They do not look the same. When we are told that to divide 2/3 by 4/5 we must invert 4/5 and then multiply it by 2/3, we might wonder why this is so. Where did this come from? Why is it true? Is there some way of seeing it? If fractions seem mysterious to us, what do they look like to a 4th or 5th grader? In this workshop, we will try to use the Math Enginetm, a math manipulative, and some simple definitions to show why all these strange and mysterious rules are reasonable. This workshop is a 10hour study of fractions. I want you, the student, to try to put out of your mind all the rules and ideas you were taught about fractions We will define what a fraction is and then think about what it would mean to compare and do operations on the fractions. We will try to demonstrate why all the rules, like the division rule invert and multiply, are true. Each session will consist of an explanation, a lesson plan, and an exercise. We will discuss the definitions and then work out various problems and then do exercises. I would like you to ask questions about things that are not clear to you and dispute things with which you disagree. I want you to feel free to voice ideas and ask questions without wondering whether they are “stupid.” You could call this workshop, “Everything you wanted to know about fractions, but were afraid to ask.”
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Session 1 One and the Definition of Fraction
We will start by looking at where some of the words that we use with fractions originated. I think it is always informative to see what a mathematical word means in a regular English nonmathematical setting. We can sometimes get a better understanding of the mathematical concept if we see where the word came from. A fraction is “a small portion broken off; small part, amount, degree, etc.; a fragment; as, a fraction of time.” The word fraction comes from the Latin fractio, a breaking. It appears then that a fraction is obtained by taking something, breaking it, and taking one of the parts. In mathematics, we take this breaking and make it more precise. We take something which we call one or the unit and break it into a number of equal parts, which we call the denominator of the fraction. We then take a certain number of these equal parts. The number of equal parts that we take is called the numerator. One of the important ideas that must be considered in the mathematical definition of denominator is that the unit is broken into equal parts. An interesting definition related to denominator is the one for the word denominate. This comes from the past participle denominatus meaning to name. The verb form in English means “to name; to give a name or epithet to; to call; to designate. The adjectival form in mathematics is interesting; “denoting a number which expresses a specific kind of unit; qualifying: opposed to abstract ; thus, seven pounds is a denominate number, while seven, without reference to concrete units, is abstract.” Thus, in 2/5, the 5 is denominate or the denominator because it tells us what we are taking 2 of. We can view the word numerator in a similar manner. Let’s look at the verb numerate. It comes from the Latin word numeratus meaning to count, number. To numerate is either “to count, to enumerate” or “to read (a number or numbers expressed in figures).” The adjectival form, mainly British, is “able to deal with scientific concepts, especially in a nathematical way; as, an increasingly numerate society.” The numerator of a fraction is “that term of a fraction which shows how many of the specified parts of a unit are taken....” A second definition for a numerator is “a person or thing that counts.”
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The Three Parts of a Fraction
Number (Count) Fracture (Break) Denote (Name)
Numerator
Fraction Bar
Denominator
3 __ 4
4
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Let’s look at a specific fraction, 3/4, and see what its different parts are. How do explain to a child what a fraction is? What is it that makes fractions so important? First note that there are three parts to the fraction, two numbers and a line. What are the different parts called and what do they represent? A fraction is a mathematical representation of a physical action. We take an object, we break it into several equal parts, and then we take a certain number of those parts. Each part of the fraction indicates one of these actions. The fraction bar represents taking an object, one thing, a unit and breaking it into equal parts.
3 _ 4
Let’s take a rectangle that can hold 4 balls. This will be our unit.
We now break the rectangle into 4 pieces. The fraction bar indicates that this fracturing has occurred.
3 _ 4
3 _ 4
The 4, called the denominator, in the fraction tells us that we have broken the rectangle into four compartments, each capable of holding 1 ball.
Finally, the 3 or numerator of the fraction tells us how many of the balls we are taking out of the 4 possible.
3 _ 4
So now we have the building of the fraction, 3/4. We take a unit, we divide it into four equal parts, and we take three of the parts.
3 _ 4
NumeratorNumberCount Fraction BarFractureBreak DenominatorNameName
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The Math Engine can be used to represent fractions using panes to show the units. Black lines can be drawn on a pane to form a pattern on a rectangular grid. Red lines can be drawn in the patterns to break the shape into several equal sized parts. We can then choose a number of these parts to form a fraction. The diagram on the right shows 6 different patterns. Each pattern has been broken into equal sized parts. Finally, some of the parts have been colored in. The fraction that is represented is marked near the appropriate pattern. See whether you agree with the fractions that are shown.
3 _ 5 1 _ 3 2 _ 9
1 _ 4 2 _ 3 1 _ 2
We do not have to have the entire Math Engine Screen on the page to show fractions. I will just show the shape on the Math Engine and the balls in the pattern to illustrate various fractions.
3 _ 4 1 _ 2 2 _ 4 3 _ 6 6 __ 12
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Worksheet 1.1
1. What fractions are represented by the following pictures?
_ _ _
_
_ _ _ _
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_
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Worksheet 1.2
1. Mark the diagrams to show the fractions?
1 _ 2
2 _ 3
1 _ 8
3 _ 7
1 _ 2
2 _ 4
6 _ 9
_ 1
3
2 _ 3
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Lesson 1.1
Objective: To show the fraction 2/5 Materials: Math Engine, 5 blue balls, 1 peg, 1 pane
1 Mark Math Engine or place a marked pane outlining the top 5 ball positions in the left column. 2. Place a peg in the sixth hole down from the top of the left hand column. 3. Place 5 blue balls above the peg and ask the students how many balls are in the Math Engine. 4. Point out that the balls fill the rectangle you marked. 5. Write 5 on the board to indicate that there are 5 balls in the rectangle. 6. Put a peg under the two top balls and pull the lower peg, letting the bottom three balls drop out. 7. Ask the students how many balls are in the rectangle. 8. Point out that the rectangle can hold 5 balls but it only has two balls in it. 9. Write the fraction 2/5 on the board. 10. Point to the 5. Say that the 5 shows how many balls can go into the rectangle. 11. Point to the 2. Say that the 2 shows how many balls are actually in the rectangle. 12. Tell the students that the fraction is called “two fifths.”
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Lesson 1.2
Objective: To show 1 in relation to a fraction Materials: Math Engine, 12 blue balls, 6 red balls, 3 green balls, 1 black ball, 1 silver ball, 1 yellow ball, 8 pegs, 2 panes
1. Place pane marked with 4 rectangles each enclosing six balls, as shown to the right, on a Math Engine. 2. Put 2 pegs at the bottom of the first rectangle and put six blue balls on top. 3. Point out to the students that we have one collection of 6 balls, all of which are blue.
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4. Put 2 pegs at the bottom of the second rectangle and put in 3 blue and 3 red balls, as shown to the left. 5. Point out to the students that we now have a collection of 6 balls but not all are blue. There are two subcollections, one red and one blue, each having 3 balls. 6. There are 2 subcollections, one of which is blue so the blue balls are 1 out of two parts or 1/2 of the balls in the collection.
1
1 2
7. Put 2 pegs at the bottom of the third rectangle and put blue, red, and green balls in as shown on the right. 8. Point out to the students that we now have a collection of 6 balls but not all are blue. There are now three subcollections, one green, one red, and one blue, each having 2 balls. 9. There are 3 subcollections, one of which is blue, so the blue balls are 1 out of three parts or 1/3 of the balls in the collection. 1 2 1 3
1
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10. Put 2 pegs at the bottom of the fourth rectangle and put one blue, red, yellow, silver, black, and green ball in as shown on the left. 11. Point out to the students that we now have a collection of 6 balls, not all blue. There are six subcollections, each having 1 colored ball. 12. There are 6 subcollections, one of which is blue, so the blue balls are 1 out of six parts or 1/6 of the balls in the collection.
1
1 2
1 3
1 6
13. Fill up all the rectangles with blue balls. 14. Place a pane with red lines which break up the rectangle into smaller rectangles as shown to the right. 15. Point out to the students that we do not have to look at different colors to see the subcollections. We can subdivide the rectangles into rectangles of the same size to see that the blue balls occupy the fractional part of the unit rectangles.
1
1 2
1 3
1 6
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Session 2. Equivalent Fractions
One of the most confusing yet powerful ideas with fractions is the concept of equivalence. If I cut a pie into two equal pieces and take one of the pieces or I cut the pie into four equal pieces and take two of the pieces, I will get the same amount of pie no matter which one I choose. The single piece might be more manageable and less messy, so some people might prefer the choice in which the pie has been cut into the fewest number of pieces. This is the same mathematically as asking to pick the fraction in its lowest terms. Let’s look at the definition of equality and equivalence. Equal comes from the Latin word aequalis meaning equal. Equivalent comes from the Latin words aequus, equal and valere to be strong. 1/2 and 2/4 are not the same but they have equal strength as fractions. (Strengths is a nine letter English word with one vowel.) Consider the different ways of looking at 3/4 we saw in the last session.
3 _ 4
All of these are 3/4 because we have divided the figure into 4 equal parts and colored 3 of them blue. What would the difference be if we had divided them differently and colored the same number of balls. Look at the two fractions on the right. One is a rectangle divided into 4 equal parts and the other is the same rectangle divided into 8 equal parts. We have colored 3 of the parts in the former rectangle and 6 of the parts in the latter. Which is more? They are not equal because of the way we formed them, but they have equal power in anything we would want to do with them. They are essentially the same. They are equivalent.
3 _ 4 6 _ 8
Which is more?
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Another question we can ask is, “Given a fraction and a rectangle representing the fraction, how many other fractions which are equivalent to the first can we show with the same rectangle?” We have an example of this on the left with the 3 x 4 rectangle and the fraction 1/2. There are 4 fractions that we can show on the 3 x 4 rectangle which are equivalent to 1/2. Note that the answer is the same as the number of even divisors of 12. We can see that the number of balls that are green are the same in each instance even though we constructed the fraction in a different way.
1 _ 2 3 _ 6
2 _ 4
6 __ 12
We now turn our attention to a special collection of rectangles , a special collection of rectangular arrays of balls, and their relationship to the multiplication table. The special rectangles and rectangular arrays of balls are those whose upper left hand corner is in the upper left 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 hand corner of the multiplication table. Take a rectangle 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 whose upper left hand corner is the upper left hand corner 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 of the multiplication table. The number of the 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 multiplication table in the lower right hand corner of the 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 rectangle is the number of balls in the rectangle. If we look 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 at the example on the right, we see a blue 6 x 7 rectangle 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 in the upper left hand corner of the multiplication table. 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 The number of balls in the rectangle is the number in the 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 lower right hand corner of the rectangle, namely 42. Similarly, if we have a rectangular array of balls in the upper left hand corner of the multiplication table, the number on the ball in the lower right hand corner of the array is the number of balls in the array. Looking in the above example, we have a 3 x 7 array of green balls. The number on the ball in the lower right hand corner of the array of green balls is 21, which is the number of green balls in the array. This gives us a fast way of figuring the fraction of green balls in the blue rectangle There are 21 green balls out of the possible 42 balls in the rectangle. We have the fraction 21/42.
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Let’s take representing fractions on the multiplication table with balls and rectangles and show a way of generating an endless supply of equivalent fractions. We start with the fraction 2/5. As we see on the right, 2/5 can be represented as 2 balls out of a possible 5 balls in the rectangle.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
2 ___ __ 2x1 = 5x1 5
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
1
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10
We take the rectangle and make it 2 wide. We now have a 5x2 rectangle which can hold 10 balls and we take 4 of them. The rectangle represents 2/5 but it also represents 4/10.
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
4 ___ __ 2x2 = 5x2 10
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
1 2 3
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
We can continue to add columns to the rectangle, generating more fractions equivalent to 2/5. Here we have 4 columns and see that 8/20=2/5.
4 5 6 7 8 9
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
8 ___ __ 2x4 = 5x4 20
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
1 2 3
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
If we use a rectangle that is nine balls wide, we have 18/45=2/5.
4 5 6 7 8 9
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
18 2x9 __ ___ = 5x9 45
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10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
15
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
5
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
We can pull the numbers 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 out of the preceding example 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 and get a list of fractions equivalent to 2/5. We eliminate all the numbers in the multiplication table that are not multiples of 2 or 5 and have two rows. We put one row on top of the other row and put a fraction bar between them and we have a list of fractions that are equivalent to 2/5.
_ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _
2
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Another point we can notice is that this idea works with columns as well as rows. Look at the partial multiplication table to the right. We can see the fractions that are equivalent to 2/5 by pulling out the second and fifth column of the multiplication table and standing them side by side.
4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
/ / / / / / / / / /
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Of course, if we had a larger multiplication table, we could extend the list of equivalent fractions as far as we wished.
The multiplication table can help us with another problem encountered with equivalent fractions, namely 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 reducing fractions. If we can find the two numbers in the 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 same column (row), we can go to the first column (row) 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 and look at those numbers. The fraction they form is 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 equivalent to the original fraction. Take the fraction 35/63 7 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 for example. By looking at the multiplication table to the 8 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 left, we see that 35 and 63 are both in the seventh column. 9 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90 By going to the first column, we find 5 and 9. This means 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 that 35/63 = 5/9. This change of columns to get an equivalent fraction in lower terms works because we are finding a common factor in the numerator and denominator. Note that this method will reduce a fraction but not necessarily to its lowest terms.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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Worksheet 2.1
1. Show as many fractions as you can which are equivalent to 1/3 using a 4x3 rectangle.
1 _ 3
_
_
_
2. What fractions does this show are equivalent?
_
=
_
Explain:
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Worksheet 2.2
1. Use the multiplication table to show that 27/63=3/7. Explain all your reasoning. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Explanation:
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Worksheet 2.3
1. Show that using the multiplication table to reduce a fraction might give you a fraction that can be reduced again. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Explanation:
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Lesson 2.1
Objective: To show equivalent forms of 6/12 Materials: Math Engine, 24 blue balls, 8 pegs, 1 pane
1. Mark a pane as shown on the right. There will be four 4x3 rectangles in the four corners with each rectangle partitioned into different fractional parts by red lines. 2. Place 4 pegs on the bottom rectangles and fill the first two columns in each rectangle. 3. Place 4 pegs on the top rectangles and fill the first two columns as before.
1 __ 2
2 __ 4
3 __ 6
6 __ 12
4. Each rectangle is the same size and holds the same number of blue balls but represents a different equivalent fraction. 5. Ask the students to choose the fraction which represents the largest fraction of the whole. Let the students decide for themselves why dividing something into 12 parts and taking 6 gives the same result as dividing the same object into 6 parts and taking 3, etc.
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Lesson 2.2
Objective: To show the relationship between rectangular arrays of balls and the multiplication table. Materials: 2 Math Engines, 21 green balls, 16 red balls, 9 pegs, 2 multiplication panes
1. Place multiplication panes on 2 Math Engines. 2. Put pegs in the first seven columns of the fourth row of one of the Math Engines. 3. Fill the space above the pegs with the 21 green balls. 4. Point out to the students that the number of balls in the 7 x 3 array of green balls is given by the number behind the lower right ball in the array. 5. Put pegs in the first two columns of the ninth row of the other Math Engine. 6. Fill the space above the pegs with the 16 red balls. 7. Point out to the students that the number of balls in the 2 x 8 array of red balls is given by the number behind the lower right ball in the array. 8. Ask the students if they could look at the multiplication table and find a rectangular array of balls that would have 15 balls.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
7 x 3 = 21
2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 12 14 16 18 20 12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
2 x 8 = 16
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Session 3. Inequality
How do we define inequality for fractions? When we are dealing with counting numbers or integers the idea of inequality is fairly straightforward. We can look at 4 and 6 or 4 and 3 and tell fairly easily if they are not equal. We also know for two numbers a and b that a<b, a=b, or a>b. Can we figure out a way to extend this situation to fractions? Given two fractions a/b and c/d, do we have a/b<c/d, a/b=c/d, or a/b>c/d. In this session, we will look at a way to compare two fractions. We want to compare two fractions. Let’s take two fractions and see if we can figure a way to decide when one is bigger than the other. There are two cases that we have to consider, the denominators are the same and the denominators are different. Let’s dispense with the easy case first. Take an example, say 2/5 and 3/5. We can look at the rectangles representing the two fractions. Since the denominators are the same, we are using the same rectangle for both fractions. We can see that 3/5 has 1 more fifth than 2/5, so 3/5 is greater than 2/5, 3/5>2/5, and 2/5 is less than 3/5, 2/5<3/5.
2 _ 5
<
3 _ 5
2 _ 5
3 _ 7
If we can figure out inequality when the denominators are equal, we have a way of approaching the idea of inequality for two fractions with unlike denominators. If we can take two fractions and find equivalent fractions to the two original fractions which have the same denominator, then we can compare the two fractions. We can ask what figure involves fifths and sevenths. Let’s look at a 5x7 rectangle.
If we take a 5x7 rectangle, then we can represent both fifths and sevenths. Each row of the rectangle is 1/5 of the rectangle. Two rows of the rectangle are 2/5. If we look at the columns, we are dealing with sevenths. Each column of the 5x7 rectangle is 1/7. Hence, three columns of the rectangle are 3/7. We now have 2/5 and 3/7 represented in the same figure and we can compare them as before.
2 _ 5 3 _ 7
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2 _ 5 15 __ < 35
2 _ = 5 3 _ = 7
14 __ = 35 3 _ = 7
We have shown in the representation above that 2/5 < 3/7. You may note that the only math calculation knowledge that we needed was the ability to count to 35. We are able to speed the process if we do know the multiplication table.
1 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10
We have worked using the multiplication table with equivalent fractions. Is there some way we can use it to figure out inequalities? Let’s take two fractions and see whether we can use the table to order them. 4/7 and 5/9 seem like good candidates. We have marked 4/7 and 5/9 off on the table to the right. Earlier in the session we formed a rectangle to compare two fractions, so let’s complete a rectangle that encompasses the two fractions.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The smallest rectangle that contains both the fractions is shown in the figure on the left. We have extended the two fractions to show the fractions that are equivalent to them, namely 36/63 and 35/63, which have a common denominator. We are now in a position to compare the two fractions. Since 36/63 and 35/63 have a common denominator and 36 > 35, we know that 36/63 > 35/63. But 4/7 = 36/63 and 5/9 = 35/63. So, 4/7 = 36/63 > 35/63 = 5/9.
4 __ 35 5 _ 36 __ _ = > = 7 63 63 9
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Let’s look at fifths and sevenths again. We will use part of the multiplication table to order all the proper fifths and sevenths. If we arrange the multiples of 5 and 7 in ascending order we have the following:
1 2 3 4 5 1 7
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5
10 12 14
12 15 18 21
12 16 20 24 28
10 15 20 25 30 35 2 7 3 7 4 7 5 7 6 7
5 < 7 < 10 < 14 < 15 < 20 < 21 < 25 < 28 < 30. Hence, 5/35 < 7/35 < 10/35 < 14/35 < 15/35 < 20/35 < 21/35 < 25/35 < 28/35 < 30/35. So, 1/7 < 1/5 < 2/7 < 2/5 < 3/7 < 4/7 < 3/5 < 5/7 < 4/5 < 6/7.
We finish this section with an ordering of proper fourths and sixths using the multiplication table. This ordering differs from the previous one because some of the fractions are equivalent. 4 < 6 < 8 < 12 = 12 < 16 < 18 < 20. Hence, 4/24 < 6/24 < 8/24 < 12/24 = 12/24 < 16/24 < 18/24 < 20/24. So, 1/6 < 1/4 < 2/6 < 2/4 = 3/6 < 4/6 < 3/4 < 5/6.
1 2 3 4 1 6 2 4 6 8 2 6 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 1/4 2/4 3/4 4/4
10 12
12 15 18
12 16 20 24 3 6 4 6 5 6 6 6
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Worksheet 3.1
1. Show:
< 3 3
1 _
2 _
> 4 4
3 _
2 _
< 6 6
2 _
5 _
2. Write the fraction inequality that is shown by the diagram. Place a fraction in the _ and < or > in the .
_
_
_
_
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Worksheet 3.2
1. Compare and explain:
2 _ 3
3 _ 4
< or = or >
2. Compare and explain:
_ 7
3 _
9 4 < or = or >
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Worksheet 3.3
1. Use this part of the multiplication table to show which fraction is smaller 2/5 or 3/8.
2 _ 5
3 _ 8
1 2 3 4 5
2 4 6 8 10
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
10 12 14 16
12 15 18 21 24
< or = or >
Explain your reasoning:
12 16 20 24 28 32 15 20 25 30 35 40
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Worksheet 3.4
1. Use the partial multiplication table to list the proper fourths and ninths in ascending order: 1 2 3 4 1 9 2 4 6 8 2 9 3 6 9 12 3 9 4 8 12 16 4 9 5 10 6 12 7 14 8 16 24 9 18 27 1/4 2/4 3/4 4/4
15 18 21 20 5 9 24 6 9 28 7 9
32 36 8 9 9 9
Place a fraction in the
_ _
and < or = in the
.
_
_
_
_ _
_ _ _ _ _
Explain your reasoning.
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Lesson 3.1
Objective: To compare two fractions Materials: Math Engine, 14 blue balls, 15 green balls, pane 1. Put a pane that has two 5 x 7 rectangles onto the Math Engine. 2. Put pegs and green and blue balls so that there are green balls in 3/7 of the first column in the first rectangle and blue balls in 2/5 of the first row in the second rectangle. 3. Ask the students which do they think is the larger fraction. Say that we can compare the fractions if they are fractions of the same unit rectangle.
3 __ 7
2 __ 5
4. Put pegs and balls so that 3/7 is represented by the equivalent fraction 15/35 and 2/5 by 14/35. 5. Ask the students which looks like the larger fraction now. 3 __ 7
= 35
15 __
14 __ 35
=
2 __ 5
6. Move the pegs and the balls in the side containing the sevenths. Moving the balls in the rectangle does not change the fraction 3/7 or 15/35. 7. Ask the students which is the larger fraction. Since the unit rectangles are the same size and there are more green balls by one, 3/7 > 2/5. 3 __ 7
=
15 __ 35
> =
14 __ 35
2 __ 5
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Session 4. Adding (Subtracting) Fractions with Like Denominators
In mathematics, when one does something new, it is helpful if the new action or idea can be linked to an idea or action one already knows. We are familiar with adding and subtracting whole numbers. Adding and subtracting fractions should be an extension of adding and subtracting whole numbers. Each whole number can be viewed as a fraction, for example, 2 = 6/3. When we add whole numbers by the rules for adding fractions, we should still get the same answer. 4/2 + 6/3 had better be 4. When we deal with adding fractions with like denominators, we are essentially adding whole numbers. In this session, we will see that adding fractions is the same as adding whole numbers except that we change the picture just a bit. We start by looking at what it means to add two numbers, say 1 and 3. We can view this as 1 ball and 3 balls in the Math Engine and have the picture look like the diagram on the right. Each ball is counted as one.
1+3=4
Let’s consider the problem 1/5 + 3/5 = 4/5. If we draw a diagram of this using balls we have the picture at the right. The first column has 1 ball out of a possible 5 in the unit. The middle column has 3 balls out of possible 5 in the unit. If we add them together we get the last column with 4 out of the possible 5. The diagram is the same as the diagram for addition of whole numbers with respect to the balls. The only difference is the lines defining the units. In this case we have a unit with 5 balls.
1+3=4 5 5 5
If we wanted to consider the problem 1 + 3 = 4 in terms of fractions, we could redo the first diagram and make it clear that each ball counts as a whole unit and the unit is divided into one part. This would change the way we look at the problem to 1/1 + 3/1 = 4/1. This is also a way to view whole numbers as fraction. 1 corresponds to 1/1, 2 corresponds to 2/1, etc. We can see from the diagram on the left that if 1 + 3 = 4, then 1/1 +3/1 = 4/1.
1+3=4 1 1 1
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We almost forgot to look at the structure of the new words we have encountered, namely, add and subtract. The word add comes from the Latin ad to and dare to give. Hence, to add is to give to. Subtract also comes from the Latin sub under and trahere to draw, hence to draw under. It could also come from the Latin subtrahere to draw away underneath. We now turn our attention to subtracting one fraction from another when they both have the same denominator. This follows the same line of reasoning as the addition with like denominators. We will do one example to demonstrate the similarity. Let’s do 7/9  5/9 and find the difference. We will show it as steps on a portion of the Math Engine as shown in the diagram on the right.. In the first column we show 7/9 with dark blue balls. In the middle column, we lighten the color of the 5 balls we will subtract. In the last column, we show the result of removing the 5 balls, the result of drawing away underneath the 5 light blue balls.
7  5 =2 9 9 9
Since this is a fairly easy seesion to understand, we will look at one more idea about fractions. One could say that we are looking at fraction etiquette. The idea of fraction is to break apart and take a piece. What if we take all the pieces or more than all the pieces. This is not “proper.” We are thinking of fractions like 3/3 or 5/3. How can consider these. If we have 2 objects each broken into 3 pieces, we could take 4 of the six pieces. Now each piece is a third or 1/3, so the 4 pieces are 4/3. This could come up if we add 2/3 and 2/3. Let’s look at it from the point of view of the balls.
2 _ 3
+
2 _ 3
=
4 _ 3
1
1 _ 3
If the numerator is a larger number than the denominator, then this is considered “improper.” We then form a “mixed” number consisting of a whole number and a “proper” fraction. Mathematicians like to push the envelope and extend the concepts but they can still feel uncomfortable.
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Worksheet 4.1
1.Do the indicated operation.
4 _ 3
+
2 _ 3
=
Show diagrams and explain.
2.Do the indicated operation.
9 _ 4

3 _ 4
=
Show diagrams and explain.
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Lesson 4.1
Objective: To add two fractions with a like denominator Materials: Math Engine, 4 blue balls, 3 green balls, 3 pegs, 1 pane 1. Put a pane marked with units containing 8 balls on the Math Engine. 2. Place pegs in the first and third columns to hold 4 and 3 balls respectively. 3. Put 4 blue balls in the first column and 3 green balls in the third column. 4 _ 8 _ +3 8
4. Place a peg in the second column at the bottom of the rectangle containing 8 balls. 5. Put the blue balls and then the green balls in the second column. 6. Ask the students why we can just add the balls without any problems. (Every ball represents 1/8 of a unit.) 4 _ 8 _ _ +3 =7 8 8 7. The answer we get is 7/8.
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Session 5. Adding (Subtracting) Fractions with Unlike Denominators
1/6 + 3/4 = ?. If every student could do this problem, understand why it works, and be able to explain it, how happy all teachers would be. This is the type of problem that we will tackle in this session. What do we know about adding fractions? We know that we can just add the numerators if the denominators are the same. We also know how to find equivalent fractions by multiplying the numerators and denominators by the same number. We will combine these two ideas using the Math Engine and add fractions. We will also see how finding the lowest common denominator is represented using the balls. We have seen, in the session on inequality, how we use rectangles to find figures on which we can represent 2 different denominators. Let’s look at 1/3 and 3/5. We will use a 3 x 5 rectangle to deal with thirds and fifths. Each row is a third and each column is a fifth.
1 _ 3
+
3 _ 5
= = =
1 _ 3 5 __ 15 14 __ 15
+ +
3 _ 5 9 __ 15
We will now tackle subtraction of two fractions with unlike denominators. This is the inverse of addition just as with the natural numbers. With addition we combine two clumps of balls and count the result. With subtraction we start with a clump and take some away. We use the same techniques as we do with addition. We can subtract if we have common denominators so we use rectangles to find a common denominator.
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3 _ 5
 = = = =
1 _ 3
3 _ 5 9 __ 15 4 __ 15 4 __ 15

1 _ 3 5 __ 15
What have we done? We started with the simplest representation of the fractions 3/5 and 1/3, 5 x 1 and a 1 x 3 rectangles. Since these two rectangles are different sizes, they are incompatible for adding or subtracting. We must find a rectangle which can represent 1/5 and 1/3 at the same time. If we look at the 5 x 3, we see that each column is a fifth and each row is a third. We then change our point of view and consider each ball as 1/35 of the whole rectangle. We now have fractions which are equivalent fractions but which have a common denominator, 35. We can now add or subtract the two fractions to get an answer. We turn our attention to the mysterious least common denominator. What in the world is it and how can we show what it is? We have rules about finding the greatest common factor and dividing the product of the two denominators by it to obtain the least common denominator. What does it all mean? What does it have to do with anything? Let’s take the smallest two numbers that will give us a meaningful look at a greatest common divisor, namely 4 and 6. we will look at the sum 1/6 + 3/4. We know by all the rules drummed into us that 4 x 6 = 24 is a common denominator, but 12 is the LEAST common denominator because 2 is the GREATEST common factor of 4 and 6 and 24/2 = 12.
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We start with the two fractions, 1/6 and 3/4. Observe that there is no easy or obvious way to add these fractions. We must change the way we look at the fractions. We must find equivalent ways to look at the fractions so that the fractions can be combined.
1 _ 6
3 _ 4
1 _ 6
3 _ 4
The way that we have done it in the past is to form a rectangle whose sides are the two denominators in length. In this case, we multiply 4 by 6 to get a 4 x 6 rectangle. If we look at the rows and columns of this rectangle, we have the representation of 4ths and 6ths in one object.
Here is where we diverge from our previous technique and add one step to the process. We notice that 2 is a common divisor of 4 and 6. This means that we can divide the 4 x 6 rectangle into 2 pieces in two different ways. Each of the pieces has 12 balls in it.
1 _ 6
3 _ 4
Even though the new rectangles are different shapes, they have the same number of balls in them.
1 _ 6
2 __ 12
3 _ 4
9 __ 12
We are in a position to add the two fractions. We have denoted or named an object from which we can easily take 1/6 and 3/4; we have found a common denominator. Indeed, we have found the smallest object, the least common denominator, for which this is possible. Let’s see what the addition looks like.
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We start with the two fractions and form a common rectangle containing both 4ths and 6ths.
1 _ 6
+
3 _ 4
= = = =
1 _ 6
+ + +
3 _ 4
We have not changed the size of the 4 x 6 rectangle before. We just used the rectangle whose dimensions are the product of the denominators. Here, we have divided by the greatest common factor of the two denominators and obtained the smallest rectangle we could getting what will be the least common denominator.
1 __ 6
3 __ 4
We now take the equivalent fractions with a rectangle having 12, not 24, balls. The two rectangles are not the same shape but they contain the same number of balls. Each ball is one twelfth of its rectangle, so we can add the balls.
2 __ 12
9 __ 12
We can choose either of the two rectangles to represent the final sum.
11 __ 12
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Worksheet 5.1
Add 1/4 and 2/5. Show all work. Explain each step.
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Worksheet 5.2
Subtract 2/3 from 3/4. Show all work. Explain each step.
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Worksheet 5.3
We want to add 1/6 and 4/9. Picture 1/6 and 4/9 with rectangles showing equivalent fractions in the least common denominator.
Add the 1/6 and 4/9 and represent the sum in a rectangle below.
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Lesson 5.1
Objective: To add two fractions with unlike denominators Materials: Math Engine, 5 green balls, 9 blue balls, 8 pegs, 1 pane 1. Place pane with 5 x 3 rectangles tiling the Math Engine. 2. Place 1 green ball in the first column representing 1/3. 3. Place 3 blue balls in the first row representing 3/5. 4. Point out to the students that the green and blue balls represent different fractions, the green, thirds and the blue, fifths.
_ 1
3 5 5. Ask the students how we can change the fractions so that we can add them. 6. Put pegs in the second row of the upper left rectangle to form 1/3 of the 15 ball unit rectangle. 7. Put pegs in the first three columns of the fourth row of the upper right rectangle to form 3/5 of the 15 ball unit rectangle.
+
_ 3
_ _ _ _ 1 5 9 + 3 = 15 + 15 3 5
8. Since each ball now represents one fifteenth, we can add them all. 9. Place pegs along the bottom of the upper right unit rectangle and move the green balls to add the fractions. (The place the green balls came from is indicated.) 10. We have added the two fractions and find that the answer is 14/15.
_ _ 14 _ 5 9 + 15 = 15 15
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Session 6. Multiplying Fractions
The rule for multiplying is the easiest of the rules for computing with fractions. To multiply two fractions, multiply their numerators and denominators. It is so simple that one can overlook what it means and how it developed. We will look closely at multiplication and see why it is appropriate to use the rule. Multiply and multiplex come from similar roots. The Latin multus, many, and plicare, to fold, give us the image of many fold. In math then, to multiply would be to have many fold copies of something.
4 3x4 With the Math Engine, it is easy to see whether you have multiple copies of the same number. As we see in the first diagram on the right, there are 4 balls in the first column. We can also see that there are 3 columns of 4 balls in the second diagram, so we say there are 4 balls taken 3 times or 3 times 4 balls. It is generally written 3 x 4. We can also think of 3 x 4 as taking 3 copies of the collection of 4 balls or 3 of the 4 balls. So, 3 of something is the same as 3 times something. Note that we form a rectangular array of balls when we line them up this way. Can we find a similar array if we are multiplying fractions? We shall see that this is indeed the case.
There are at least two cases we must consider to make the transition from multiplying whole numbers to multiplying fractions. The easier case is multiplying something a whole number times. The more difficult case is multiplying something a fractional amount of times. For example, we must decide what we mean by taking something 2/3 times. The idea of taking a fraction a whole number of 4/5 3 x 4/5 times is really no different from taking any number of things a whole number times. We are simply deciding to make a certain whole number copies of an object. It is still the same rectangular ball area, the only difference is setting the unit. The diagram at the right shows what happen when we choose the unit so that each ball represents 1/5. If we think of 3 as 3/1 then the product would be 12/5, which is the product, as we can see from the diagram.
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The second case is a little more delicate. What does it mean to take 2/3 of an object or have an object 2/3 times.
4 3x4 Let’s look at taking 3 copies of 4 objects a little closer. If we take 3 copies of the four balls in the first diagram on the right, we find that we have 3 green balls, 3 blue balls, 3 yellow balls, and 3 red balls in the second diagram. We have taken 3 copies of the four balls by taking 3 copies of each ball in the collection. This gives us a way of looking at taking a collection of objects or units a fractional number of times. If we want to take 1/2 of a collection of units, we can do so if we take one half of each one. It is impossible to chop up the balls but this is not necessary. We are back to defining what we mean by the unit. Let’s look at a way to take 4 units 1/2 times and 4 units 2/3 times. We start with 1/2. 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 = 2
If we want to take 1/2 of 4 units, then we want to take 1/2 of each unit. To take 1/2 of a unit, we must have a good number of balls in a unit, namely a number that is easily divisible by 2. 2 seems like the most appropriate number to take. In the first representation of 4 in the diagram above, we take a unit having 2 balls. We can easily take 1/2 of each unit, as shown in the middle diagram above. Note that this configuration is a rectangular array. In the third diagram above, we have moved the balls to make counting easier. We can see that 1/2 x 4 = 2 in this representation.
4
2
/3 x 4
2
/3 x 4 = 2 2/3
If we want to multiply 4 by 2/3 then each unit in the first diagram is divided into 3 parts so that each ball is 1/3. We take 2 of them from each unit to get the middle diagram. Note that it is a rectangular array of balls. We have rearranged the balls in the last diagram to make counting the units easier. We have 2/3 x 4 = 8/3 = 2 2/3. Also note that the multiplication rule holds if we consider the problem 2/3 x 4/1.
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We finish this session by multiplying a fraction by a fraction. Let’s take an example. The general case would be similar. How about 4/5 x 6/7?
4/5 6 _ 7 6 _ 7 4 _ 5
x
6 _ 7
Let’s go over the entire process. We are trying to find 6/7, 4/5 times. This is the same as 4/5 times 6/7 or 4/5 of 6/7. We first notice that we are dealing with fifths and sevenths. The first number we consider is 6/7. Since we are dealing with sevenths we set the unit on the far left to have 7 balls. 6/7 is marked out. We are also dealing with fifths. Each ball in the calculation will have to be split into five equal parts, so we extend the unit making each ball into five balls. The unit is now a 5 x 7 rectangle with 35 balls in it. Each ball is now a thirtyfifth. We take 4 of the 5 balls that each seventh has been broken into. We now have 4 x 6 balls in the product. Since each ball is 1/35, the product 4/5 x 6/7 = 24 / 35. Please note that using this definition of fraction multiplication we have the product of the numerators is the numerator of the product and the product of the denominators is the denominator of the product. Also notice that the product is represented by a rectangular array.
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We conclude this session by looking at the multiplication of two fractions, one proper and one improper, on the Math Engine with the multiplication pane in place. We can see that the number in the lower right hand corner of the upper left unit is the denominator of the product. The numerator is the number under the lower right ball in the rectangular array representing the product. We note, once again, to multiply two fractions, multiply the numerators and multiply the denominators.
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2 2 4 6 8
3 3 6 9
4 4 8
5 5
6 6
7 7
8 8
9 9
10 10
10 12 14 16 18 20 21 24 27 30
12 15 18
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
10 15
12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
7 _ 4
x =
3 _ 5
21 __ 20
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Worksheet 6.1
Show the following: 5/9 x 7/2 3/8 x 9/2
Show 1/9 x 1/5
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
Show what times 9/4 is 45/28.
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
10 12 14 16 18 20
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
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Lesson 6.1
Objective: To multiply one fraction by another Materials: Math Engine, 2 green balls, 10 red balls, 6 blue balls, 2 panes We will multiply 2/5 by 2/3, but first we have to review what it means to multiply by a whole number. 1. Place 5 red balls in the first two columns of the Math Engine. 2. Tell the students that 2 x 5 is the same as 5 things taken 2 times. That is, we take two copies of each ball and count how many we have. Place 5 red balls in the second column and point out we have 2x5 or 10 red balls.
2x5
_ 2
5
3. Put on 1 x 5 rectangular grid and 2 green balls in the first column. 4. Ask the students how we can take 2/3 of those two balls. Point out that multiplying by 2 means take 2 of each ball, so we should take 2/3 of each ball.
5. Have the students note that we can take a third of each ball if we change to an equivalent fraction where each ball becomes three balls. We will change the color to blue and say that each green ball is worth 3 blue balls. 2/3 6. Put on a 3 x 5 rectangular grid and put 6 blue balls in 2 the upper left rectangle as shown to the right. We now 5 have the blue balls as 2/5 of the 3 x 5 unit rectangle.
_
7. Take 2/3 of each row of the blue balls. The unit rectangle is 3 x 5 or 15 balls and the number of balls we have is 2 x 2 or 4 balls, so the answer is 4/15.
_ 2
3
x
_ = ___ = _ 2 2x2 4
5 3x5
15
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Session 7. Canceling Common Factors While Multiplying Fractions
Canceling common factors when multiplying fractions can simplify calculations and is an important concept to take into algebra. Symbolically, the rule for multiplying fractions, commutativity of mulpltiplication, and rules of equivalent fractions are the justification for canceling common factors when multiplying fractions. Is there a concrete representation of canceling common factors on the Math Engine? Yes! We will explore this representation in session 7. Canceling common factors on the Math Engine when multiplying fractions involves going back to the original definition of fraction and monkeying with the unit. Let’s take a closer look at the process of multiplying fractions and separate out some of its important features.We will look first at 3/5 x 5/8 which is pictured on the left in the diagram below. We are going to concentrate on the units so they have been emphasized and the ball color has been muted. A fraction has two basic numbers, the number of elements the unit has been broken into (denominator) and the number of these units we have taken (numerator). Let’s look more closely at the unit and play with it. In the diagrams below, we have taken the problem 3/5 x 5/8 and represented it on the Math Engine with the multiplication pane and a pane showing the unit rectangles. We rotate the unit pane around the blue diagonal line and put it back on the Math Engine. We have NOT changed the fraction, but now it is in the form we have seen before for equivalent fractions. We have canceled out the common factor 5.
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
10 12 14 16 18 20
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
3 _ 5
x
5 _ 8
=
3 _ 8
x =
5 _ 5
3 _ 8
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1 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10
We will next do a fraction multiplication where the factors are more deeply buried in the problem and not quite as obvious as before. The multiplication problem 3/8 x 4/9 is pictured to the right. We will flip the unit, look for different equivalences, and then multiply the reduced fractions.
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
10 12 14 16 18 20
12 15 18 21 24 27 30
12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
3 _ 8
1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2 2 4 6 8 3 3 6 9 4 4 8 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 10 12 14 16 18 20 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40
x
4 _ 9
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 14 21 28 35 42 49 56 63 70 16 24 32 40 48 56 64 72 80 18 27 36 45 54 63 72 81 90
We have rotated the unit pane around the diagonal in the diagram to the left. This has interchanged the denominators. Instead of 3/8 x 4/9, we have 3/9 x 4/8. This allows us to find the equivalences 3/9 = 1/3 and 4/ 8 = 1/2 by splitting up the unit into a different pattern.
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
3 _ 9
x
4 _ 8
1
1
2
3
We can regroup the balls into a pattern that simplifies the multiplication problem to 1/3 x 1/2 as shown in the diagram to the right. We have eliminated two factors, 3 and 4, in the numerator and denominator making the problem a much easier one.
1
2
3
2
2
4
6
1 _ 3
x =
1 _ 2
1 _ 6
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In the last part of this session we will look at the important mathematical concept of the multiplicative inverse or reciprocal. Take a fraction. We want to find another fraction called the reciprocal so that, when we multiply the two, the product is 1. Let’s pick a typical ordinary fraction like 5/7. What fraction do we have to multiply 5/7 by to get a product of 1? Considering what we just did with canceling we must have a factor of 7 in the numerator and a factor of 5 in the denominator. 7/5 looks like a logical guess. We will see why this works.
7 _ 5
x
5 _ 7
7 _ 7
x =1
5 _ 5
The figure on the left shows the product 7/5 x 5/7. If we look at the unit, we find that we have a 7 x 5 rectangle. If we look at the balls, we find that we have a 5 x 7 rectangular array. The two are not the same but have the same number of spaces for balls. If we rotate the unit rectangular grid around the green diagonal, as we did before, the unit rectangle and rectangular grid align with each other so that the rectangular array fills the unit rectangle exactly. This is the same as saying that the balls represent the number 1. Thus, 7/5 x 5/7 = 1. So 7/5 and 5/7 are reciprocals or multiplicative inverses of each other.
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Worksheet 7.1
1. Cancel common factors then multiply 5/6 x 4/7. Show a representation of the original problem and the solution. Explain what you are doing.
2. What is the reciprocal of 4/5? Show that it is the reciprocal. Explain what you are doing.
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Session 8. Dividing Fractions
Of all the operations, division of fractions is the most puzzling. Multiplying is simple, multiply numerators and denominators. Addition and subtraction are complicated and convoluted. But division is simple but strange. Invert and multiply. Why? We will see why in this session. The Latin does not give us much help. Dividere is to divide. The concept is old and important. We must review what it means to divide whole numbers since we will see that the operation carries over to fractions without modification. If we have 17 balls, as shown on the right, and want to divide them among 7 persons, we would give one ball to each person. If there were enough, we would give each person another ball. ...and so on. Each time we give a ball to each person, we subtract 7 balls from the number we have to give. Dividing by 7 is asking how many groups of 7 balls are there in 16. We can show this easily in the Math Engine as seen in the diagram to the left. Each column has 7 balls in it. We are asking how many columns of 7 balls there are. We can think of the answer as 2 with a remainder of 3. We can also think of the answer in terms of fractions. Since we are asking how many sevens there are in 17, we can view the problem as one in which the unit has changed. Instead of a unit being one ball, we now have the unit consisting of seven balls. Each ball is 1/7 of a unit. Dividing 17 by 7 gives us an answer of 2 3/7. We will use this way of looking at division when we divide one fraction by another. We will study division by fractions in two steps. First we will divide whole numbers by fractions. We will then consider dividing one fraction by another. We are going to start by taking the whole number 3 and dividing it successively by 1/2, 2/2, 3/2, 4/2, 5/2, 6/2, 7/2, and 8/2. We will display the results all together so that we can see the changes that result as we alter the denominator. Since we will be dividing 3 by multiples of 1/2 we will display 3 in units having 2 balls, that is each ball is 1/2 a unit. We will then do the same thing but dividing by multiples of 1/3. With thirds we have to start with a unit consisting of three balls.
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3
3/ = =6
1 _ 2
6 _ 1
3/ = =3
2 _ 2
6 _ 2
3/ = =2
3 _ 2
6 _ 3
3/ = =1
4 _ 2
6 _ 4
2 _ 4
3/ = =1
5 _ 2
6 _ 5
1 _ 5
3/ = =1
6 _ 2
6 _ 6
3/ =
7 _ 2
6 _ 7
3/ =
8 _ 2
6 _ 8
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3
3/ = =9
1 _ 3
9 _ 1
3/ = =4
2 _ 3
9 _ 2
1 _ 2
3/ = =3
3 _ 3
9 _ 3
3/ = =2
4 _ 3
9 _ 4
1 _ 4
3/ = =1
5 _ 3
9 _ 5
4 _ 5
3/ = =1
6 _ 3
9 _ 6
3 _ 6
3/ = =1
7 _ 3
9 _ 7
2 _ 7
3/ = =1
8 _ 3
9 _ 8
1 _ 8
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Let’s take a fraction and see what it would take to divide it by another fraction. Take 3/4 and divide by 5/6. If we think about dividing 17 by 7, we had to ask how many 7 unit collections we could take out of 17 units. The 7 and 17 must be counted in the same units. We did the same thing when we divided 3 by 4/3. We had 3 and 4/3 represented in the same unit, namely a unit with 3 balls. What figure allows us to deal simultaneously with 3/4 and 5/6? That’s right, a rectangle! In particular, a 4 x 6 or a 6 x4 rectangle.
We first have to set up the 3/4 of a unit. We have done this before. We take a 6 x 4 and fill 3 of its columns with balls. This represents the fraction 3/4.
We must now ask how many 5/6 units we can fill with this 3/4 unit of balls. We have set up a grid of 4 x 5 rectangles which has been superimposed on the 4 x 6 grid of rectangles that was our original unit. the 4 x 5 rectangle is 5/6 of the 4 x 6 rectangle. In the picture on the right, we have the new 4 x 5 unit rectangular grid on top of the old rectangular 4 x 6 unit grid and the 3/4 unit rectangular ball array.
We move the balls so that they are all in one of the new units. This allows us to calculate the answer to the division problem. The new unit can contain 4 x 5 or 20 balls. We have 3 x 6 or 18 balls in the 3/4 so 18/20 is an answer to dividing 3/4 by 5/6.
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We said at the beginning of the session that we would show that invert and multiply follows from dividing a fraction by another fraction with the Math Engine. Let’s look more closely at the representation for division of filling rectangular areas with rectangular arrays of balls. We will use the problem we just calculated, 3/4 divided be 5/6. We have modified the diagram by not putting the whole grid of the new unit. We can see the old 4 x 6 rectangular unit grid in black. 3/4 represented by green balls filling 3 out of a possible 4 columns in the old unit. The upper left rectangle in the new rectangular grid indicating 5/6, marked in blue. To divide 3/4 by 5/6 we end up dividing the number of green balls, which is 3 x 6, by the number of balls the new unit can hold, which is 4 x 5. But this is the result we get if we invert 5/6 and multiply it by 3/4.
4x5 3 x 6
3 5 _ _ 4 6
/ =
3x6 ____ 4x5
=
3 _ 4
x
6 _ 5
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1
We are going to add the multiplication table to the problem 3/4 divided by 5/6 to make getting an answer easier. In the diagram to the right we have taken the original unit 4 x 6 rectangle and placed the multiplication table on top. The green balls represent 3/4 and the blue rectangle represents 5/6. We can see that we can read the answer, 18/20, right off the multiplication table.
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8 12
2 3 4 5 6
12 16 20
10 15 12
18 24
We conclude this session by looking at the representations for various fraction division problems.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5 10
12 15
12 16 20
10 15 20 25 12 18 24 30 14 21 28 35
3 2 _ _ 5 7
/ =
3x7 ____ 5x2
=
3 _ 5
x =
7 _ 2
21 __ 10
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1 2 3 4 5 6
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
10 12 14
12 15 18 21
12 16 20 24 28 35
10 15 20 25 30 12 18 24
30 36 42
7 _ _ 6 4 5
/ =
7x5 ____ 4x6
=
7 _ 4
x =
5 _ 6
35 __ 24
=1
11 __ 24
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Worksheet 8.1
1. Calculate: 2/3 divided by 1/2. Show all work and explain.
1. Calculate: 1/3 divided by 3/4. Show all work and explain.
3. Calculate: 4/3 divided by 4/3. Show all work and explain.
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Lesson 8.1
Objective: To divide one fraction by another Materials: Math engine, 18 green balls, 4 pegs, 2 panes 1. Put on pane with black 4x6 rectangular grid. 2. Place pegs in the first three holes on the second row of holes in the Math Engine. 3. Put in 3 green balls, one above each of the pegs. 4. Tell the students that this represents the fraction 3/4, because we have 3 of the places filled in the first four. 5. Tell the students that we want to divide this fraction, 3/4, by the fraction 5/6, i.e.we are asking how many 5/6 are there in 3/4. We have to change the machine so that it represents fourths and sixths. If we consider the 4x6 rectangle, we see each row is a sixth and each column is a fourth. 3/4 6. Add enough green balls to fill 3/4 of the top black 4x6 unit rectangle, namely, 3 columns. 7. Place the pane with the red 4x5 unit rectangle on the Math Engine. 8. Tell the students that the new unit is 5/6 of the old unit. 3/4
_ 5
6
9. Rearrange the green balls so that they fill the red rectangles, starting at the top left. 10. Point out that there are 20 places for balls in each new unit rectangle and we have 18 balls, so the answer is 18/20.
_ 3
4
/
_ = ___ = 18 5 3x6 _
6 4x5 20
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Session 9. Ratio and Proportion
Ratio and proportion, Latin ratio et proportio, reckoning and analogy, are intimately related to fractions and incredibly important in real life. A ratio is a fraction and a proportion is an equivalence of fractions. When we say that 1/2 = 2/4, we are stating a proportion. How do we encounter proportions in real life? We deal with ratio and proportion whenever we encounter a rate.
525 ___ 10.4
=
? _ 7
Suppose we are traveling in a car on a trip and we find that we have gone 525 miles in 10 hours and 24 minutes. If we have another 326 miles to go and 7 hours before we have to be at our destination, can we get there on time if we maintain our speed or do we have to go faster?
A recipe that feeds 4 people calls for 1/4 teaspoon of a spice. If we are having a dinner party for 7 couples, how much spice will we need?
4 ___ 1/4
=
14 __ ?
1 ___ 2.5
=
? ___ 18.5
I can treat 2.5 acres of a crop with a quart of pesticide. How much pesticide will I need if I need to treat 18.5 acres?
These are just three examples. We could come up with scads more, anywhere a rate would apply. How do we solve a proportion? How does it appear on the Math Enginetm? We will start with a simple proportion.
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? 1 _ _ 3 2 Too difficult?
=
We might be tempted to start with the proportion, 1 is to 2 as what is to 3 because the numbers are small and easy to work with. I think this would be a mistake, for we need some complexity to see what is going on. We will come back to this example after we do an easier proportion problem.
We will start with an easier problem, namely, 2 is to 5 as what is to 7. How can we tackle this problem on the Math Enginetm; what does the problem look using balls?
2 ? _ _ 7 5 Easier?
=
We are dealing with fractions. The fractions are fifths and sevenths. If we were working with equivalences or adding fractions, we would be looking for a structure that would handle fifths and sevenths. What about a 7 x 5 rectangle (or a 5 x 7 rectangle)? We will use just part of the Math Engine, so we will just display the part that is involved and not picture the whole face.
The rows are fifths and the columns are sevenths. In the diagram to the right, the green balls are 2/5 of the rectangle. If we move them around, they still are 2/5 of the rectangle.
2 _ 5
2 _ 5
4 2_/5 7
Let’s put the green balls in columns, as in the diagram on the left. We have not added or subtracted any balls, so the balls are 2/5 of the rectangle. But now we can look at the balls as sevenths and find we have 24/5 sevenths.
2 _ 5
=
24/5 ___ 7
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Let’s go back and see how this relates to the solution of the proposition in the usual algebraic way.
= 2x7 __ 5 = y 4 2/ =y
5
What are we doing with the balls? We take a shape that can be used to represent both fifths and sevenths. We then move the shape to change 2/5 to the appropriate number of sevenths. If we look at the pictures and think of them in terms of whole
2 _ 5
y _ 7
2
2x7
2x7 ___ 5
numbers we observe something interesting. The change in the pictures represents the algebraic solution of the proportion. Take 2, multiply by 7, then divide by 5.
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We are now in a position to solve the proportion, 1 is to 2 as what is to 3. Let’s look at a 3 x 2 rectangle.
1 _ 2
= =
11/2 ___ 3
What about the proposition, 1 is to 3 as what is to 2?
1 _ 3
2 /3 ___ 2
We can apply the idea of a proportion to percentage problems. First, let’s look at the derivation of percent. In Latin, centum is 100. Percent is per centum or per 100. So we see that 15% is 15 percent is 15 per hundred is 15/100. 15% of 30 is 15/100 x 30. If 15% x 30 = y, then this is the same as 15/100=y/30. We have a proportion which we have learned how to solve.
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Worksheet 9.1
1. Take the proportion and draw the picture representing it. What other proportions can you form from this one. Explain.
2 _ 6
=
3 _ 9
2. Solve the proportion and put the answer in the rectangle. Explain.
3 _ 4
=
_ 6
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Worksheet 9.2
1. Take the fact that 4 x 9 = 6 x 6, as shown in the multiplication table on the right and generate as many proportions as you can. Picture and explain.
1 2 3 4 5 6 2 4 6 8 3 6 9 4 8 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 16 18 12 15 18 21 24 27 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10 12 14 16 18
12 15 18 21 24 27
12 16 20 24 28 32 36
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10 12 14 16 18
12 15 18 21 24 27
12 16 20 24 28 32 36
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10 12 14 16 18
12 15 18 21 24 27
12 16 20 24 28 32 36
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 4 6 8
3 6 9
4 8
5
6
7
8
9
10 12 14 16 18
12 15 18 21 24 27
12 16 20 24 28 32 36
10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54
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Lesson 9.1
Objective: To work the proportion problem, 2/5 = x/7 Materials: Math Engine, 14 blue balls, 8 pegs, 2 panes 1. Place pane on Math Engine with 1x5 unit rectangles. 2. Pace a peg and two green balls in the first column. 3. Tell the students that the balls represent the fraction 2/5. 4. Ask them how many sevenths they think equal 2/5. 5. Tell them that we need to represent sevenths.
_ 2
5
_ 2
5
6. Replace the 1x5 unit rectangular grid with a 7x5 grid. 7. Put pegs and balls so that the green balls fill the top two rows in the 7x5 unit rectangle. 8. Point out to the students that the balls fill up 2/5 of the unit rectangle and will fill up 2/5 of the rectangle even if we move them.
9. Move the green balls so they fill columns in the 7x5 unit rectangle starting from the left.
4 10. Point out to the students that there are 2 /5 columns that are filled with green balls, so that 2 4/5 sevenths is the same as 2/5.
_ 2
5
2 /5 ____ 7
4
=
2 _ 5
2/ __
4 5
7
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Session 10. Wrapup and Discussion
Discussion, Latin dis apart and quatere to shake, consider and argue the pros and cons. What have we seen? We have the following: 1. A definition of fraction 2. When fractions are really the same or equivalent 3. When one fraction is less than another fraction 4. How to add and subtract fractions 5. How to multiply and divide fractions 6. How to work with ratios and proportions In this final seesion, I would like you to write a onepage paper exploring several ideas. I would like you to state anything that you saw in the first nine sessions which was new to you. We have all worked with fractions most of our lives. Was there anything that you saw that put fractions in a new perspective? The second idea to write about is how you feel you could put what you have learned into use in your classroom. Is there anything that you have seen here that you would like to try with students, especially those who are not understanding the usual presentation? Finally, I would like to have suggestions on how you would like to see the course changed. Which parts were useful, new and interesting? Which were ones you already knew and did not have to go over? What handouts and blackline masters would you like to have and use in your classroom? You will write for half, (89/178), of an hour and then we will discuss what you have written.
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