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Order and Equivalence of Rational Numbers: A Clinical Teaching Experiment

Merlyn J. Behr, Ipke Wachsmuth, Thomas R. Post and Richard Lesh
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 15, No. 5 (Nov., 1984), pp. 323-341
DOI: 10.2307/748423
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/748423
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Order and Equivalence of Rational Numbers: A Clinical Teaching Experiment
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Abstract

Fourth-grade students' understanding of the order and equivalence of rational numbers was investigated in 11 interviews with each of 12 children during an 18-week teaching experiment. Six children were instructed individually and as a group at each of two sites. The instruction relied heavily on the use of manipulative aids. Children's explanations of their responses to interview tasks were used to identify strategies for comparing fraction pairs of three types: same numerators, same denominators, and different numerators and denominators. After extensive instruction, most children were successful but some continued to demonstrate inadequate understanding. Previous knowledge relating to whole numbers sometimes interfered with learning about rational numbers.

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