Understanding particular concepts in maths can be very challenging, especially when learners move on from using number lines, and are required to do the math and grasp the concepts in more abstract ways. So by the time they reach grade 4, 5, 6 and 7, and they’re expected to solve more complicated problem sums, with the added difficulty of fractions thrown in the mix, things become a lot more complex.
If ½ the children at school travel by car, a ¼ by bus and an 1/8 by train, what fraction of children walk to school?
With problem sums such as this, not only are learners expected to make sense of the sentence before figuring out which concept and method to apply to it, they’re also supposed to make sense of fractions that, because they aren’t whole things, might be a little more difficult to visualise, process and apply.
But what if you could actually visualise these fractions and physically add and subtract parts of and from a whole?
The Montessori method of education believes that this idea of using a constructive or “discovery” model and working from actual, sensory materials, is a better way for learners to understand concepts, as they are physically exploring what’s in front of them.
So we’ve put together an easy to make DIY using foam sheets to give you an idea of how you can help your child learn fractions at home if they’re having a tough time applying mathematical concepts abstractly. All you’ll need is foam sheets, scissors, a pencil and a bowl to cut out your shapes.
Watch the DIY video above, make your foam fractions and pause it just before the answer to see if the kids are able to answer each question.
Here are a few more to test out:
1. Is ¼ less than (<) or greater than (>) 3/8?
2. Reduce the following fractions/write them out in their simplest form:
3. What is 1/2 + 5/8?
4. What is ½ - 1/8?
5. If ½ your class’s favourite flavour of ice cream is chocolate, a ¼ is vanilla and another ¼ is strawberry, if your class is made up of 16 people, how many children in the class like strawberry ice cream?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if these foam fractions helped answer and solves these questions and problem sums.
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