Teaching Equivalence with Fractions - 22471

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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.

Solution Description



As an elementary school teacher it will be necessary to teach students fractions in math.  By the fourth grade, students should have been introduced to the concept of fractions. When dealing with fractions one element that students will need to understand is finding equivalence of fractions with unlike denominators.  Students will need some prior knowledge about fractions in order for this concept to be taught and learned.  First, an understanding of what fractions are and that they are a way of counting a whole or part of a whole.  Second, students will need to be familiar with fraction symbols and vocabulary.  Lastly, the student needs to have a basic understanding of multiplication and division. 


An important concept of working with fractions is the understanding of equivalency.  Using manipulatives is one method that can help students understand equivalent fractions.  Equivalent fractions are fractions that appear different but have the same value.  An activity that can be used to introduce equivalent fractions using manipulatives is using a mock pizza or pie.  Students should be first introduced to the concepts of comparing fractions with unlike denominators.  For example, use a mock print out of a pizza and present it to the class