Fractions, like whole numbers, may be represented in symbols, words or in a pictorial form. It is important that students learn to recognize these three representations, and move fluently between them.
There is a temptation for many adults to move children as quickly as possible to the “real math” of using symbols. However, if this happens too quickly, students may not really have a personal, mental picture for the mathematics they are learning, leaving them to flounder with symbols that are barely understood.
The worksheets this week give students practice in recognizing fractions in three forms: symbols, words and pictures. For each example, encourage students to verbalize what the different representations are showing them. For example, you could ask questions like these:
Once common fractions are well understood, talk about “special” fractions that are made up of ten equal pieces in a whole. Reinforce the knowledge of tenths, then introduce a second way to record these fractions, using decimal notation.