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Learning Fractions with Understanding: Building on Informal Knowledge

Nancy K. Mack
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan., 1990), pp. 16-32
DOI: 10.2307/749454
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/749454
Page Count: 17
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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.
Learning Fractions with Understanding: Building on Informal Knowledge
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Abstract

Eight sixth-grade students received individualized instruction on addition and subtraction of fractions in a one-to-one setting for six weeks. Instruction was designed to build on the student's informal knowledge of fractions. All students possessed a rich store of informal knowledge of fractions that was based on partitioning units and treating the parts as whole numbers. Students' informal knowledge was initially disconnected from their knowledge of fraction symbols and procedures. Students related fraction symbols and procedures to their informal knowledge in ways that were meaningful to them; however, knowledge of rote procedures frequently interfered with students' attempts to build on their informal knowledge.

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