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PST 201-F STUDY NOTES

CHAPTER 1
TEACHING MATHEMATICS IN THE ERA OF NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF
MATHEMATICS (NCTM) STANDARDS
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics
The six principles for school mathematics

Equity high expectations and strong support for all students


Curriculum must be coherent, focused on important mathematics and well articulated.
Teaching understand math; understand how children learn math; select tasks and strategies to
maximise learning.
Learning students must learn actively, building new knowledge from experience and prior
knowledge.
Assessment support learning of math and provide info for both teacher and learner
Technology essential, it influences what is taught and enhances learning.

The five Content Standards (or strands of mathematics)

Number and operations


Algebra
Geometry
Measurement
Data Analysis and Probability

The five process standards


Problem solving
Reasoning and proof
Communication
Connections
Representation
These refer to the process through which students should acquire and use mathematical knowledge.
N.B SEE TABLE 1.1, PAGE 4 OF TEXT
The Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics
Teachers must shift from a teacher-centred to a child-centred approach in their instruction.
Five shifts in Classroom Environment
The introduction to the professional standards lists five major shifts in the environment of the mathematics
classroom that are necessary to allow students to develop mathematical power. Teachers need to shift
Toward classrooms as mathematics communities and away from classrooms as simply a collection of
individuals
Toward logic and mathematical evidence as verification and away from the teacher as the sole
authority for right answers
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Toward mathematical reasoning and away from mere memorising procedures


Toward conjecturing, inventing, and problem solving and away from an emphasis on the mechanistic
finding of answers
Towards connecting mathematics, its ideas, and its applications and away from treating mathematics
as a body of isolated concepts and procedures.

The teaching standards


See appendix B of text!
The reform movement in school mathematics
The reform movement and school mathematics is the movement away from teacher-centred methods of
instruction and towards learner centred methods of instruction. It is strongly focused on problems centred
teaching and learning approaches. It also focuses on the concept that all students can and should learner
mathematics.
Forces driving the reform movement are:

The demands of society


The influence of technology
The direction of the National Council of teachers of mathematics
The Third International Mathematics And Science Study report
The five content standards and their relationship to the learning outcomes in our own curriculum
The five processes standards and what our own curriculum has to say about them
The five shifts in the classroom environment

CHAPTER 2
EXPLORING WHAT IT MEANS TO DO MATHEMATICS
Traditional views of mathematics
Traditional teaching, still the predominant instructional pattern, typically begins with an explanation of what
ever idea is on the current page of the text followed by showing children how to do the assigned exercises.
Even with a hands on activity, the traditional teacher is guiding students, telling them exactly how to use the
materials in the prescribed manner. The focus of the lesson is primarily on getting answers. Students rely on
the teacher to determine if their answers are correct.
Mathematics as a science of pattern and order
Mathematics is the science of pattern and order. Science is a process of figuring things out or making sense
of things. It begins with problem-based situations. Although you may never have thought of it in quite this
way, mathematics is a science of things that have a pattern of regularity and logical order. Finding and
exploring this regularity order and then making sense of it is what doing mathematics is all about.
The world is full of pattern and order: in nature, in art, in buildings, in music. Pattern and order are found in
commerce, science, medicine, manufacturing, and sociology. Mathematics discovers this order, makes sense
of it, and uses it in a multitude of fascinating ways, improving our lives and expanding our knowledge.
What does it mean to do mathematics?
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Doing mathematics = engaging in the science of pattern and order


There is a time in a place for drill but drill should never come before understanding.
The verbs of doing mathematics are:
Explore
Investigate
Conjecture
Solve
Justify
Represent
Formulate
Discover
Construct
Verify
Explain
Predict
Develop
Describe
Use
These are science verbs indicating the process of making sense and figuring out.
What is basic in mathematics?
The most basic idea in mathematics is that mathematics makes sense!
Everyday students must experience that mathematics makes sense.
Students must come to believe that they are capable of making sense of mathematics.
Teachers must stop teaching by telling and start letting students make sense of the mathematics
they are learning.
To this end, teachers must believe in the students - all of them!
An environment for doing mathematics

The classroom must be an environment where doing mathematics is not threatening and where every
student is respected for his or her ideas.
Students should feel comfortable taking risks, knowing that they will not be ridiculed if they are
wrong.
The teachers role is to create this spirit of enquiry, trust, and expectation.
The focus is on students actively figuring things out, testing ideas and making conjectures,
developing reasons and offering explanations.

No answer book
In the real world of problem solving outside the classroom, there are no teachers with answers and no
answer books. Doing mathematics includes deciding if an answer is correct or and why. It also includes
being able to justify your reasoning to others.

CHAPTER 3
DEVELOPING UNDERSTANDING IN MATHEMATICS
The constructivist view of learning
Constructivism rejects the notion that children are blank slates. They do not absorb ideas as teachers present
them. Rather, children of creators of their own knowledge.
The construction of ideas
Children construct their own knowledge
The tools we use to build understanding are our existing ideas, the knowledge that we already
possess.
The materials we act on to build understanding may be things we see, hear, or touchelements of
our physical surroundings. Sometimes the materials are our own thoughts and ideas.
The effort that must be supplied is active and reflective thought. If minds are not actively thinking,
nothing happens.
The construction of an idea is almost certainly going to be different for every learner, even within the
same environment or classroom.
To construct and understand a new idea requires actively thinking about it. Children must be
mentally active for learning to take place.
Constructing knowledge requires reflective thought, actively thinking about all mentally working on
an idea.
A new idea is constructed by using the ideas we already have. A network of connections
between ideas is developed in the process; this is called a web of ideas. The more ideas used and
the more connections made, the better we understand.
Integrated networks, or cognitive schemas, are both the product of constructing knowledge and the
tools with which additional new knowledge can be constructed. As learning occurs, the networks are
rearranged, added to, or otherwise modified.
The general principles of constructivism are based largely on Piagets processes of assimilation and
accommodation. Assimilation refers to the use of existing schemas to give meaning to experiences.
Accommodation is the process of altering existing ways of viewing things or ideas that contradict or
do not fit into existing schemas.
Construction in rote learning

Rote knowledge will almost never contribute to a useful network of ideas. Rote learning can be
thought of as a weak construction.
When mathematical ideas are used to create new mathematical ideas, useful cognitive networks are
formed.

Understanding
Understanding can be defined as a measure of the quality and quantity of connections that an idea has with
existing ideas. Understanding is never an all or nothing proposition. It depends on the existence of
appropriate ideas and on the creation of new connections.

One way that we can think about and individuals understanding is that it exists along a continuum. At one
extreme is a very rich set of connections. Be understood idea is associated with many other existing ideas in
a meaningful network of concepts and procedures. The two ends of this continuum are relational
understanding the rich interconnected web of ideasand instrumental understanding ideas that are
isolated and essentially without meaning. Note that knowledge learnt by rote is at the isolated end of the
continuum; it is instrumental knowledge that is learned without meaning.
Benefits of relational understanding

It is intrinsically rewarding nearly all people enjoyed learning. This is especially true when new
information connects with ideas already possessed. The new knowledge make sense; it fits; it feels
good.
It enhances memory when mathematics is learned relationally, there is much less chance that the
information will deteriorate. Connected information provides an entire web of ideas to reach full. If
what you need to recall seems distant, reflecting on ideas that are related can usually lead you to the
desired the idea eventually.
There is less to remember constructivist to talk about teaching big ideas which are really just large
networks of interrelated concepts.
It helps with learning new concepts and procedures an idea fully understood in mathematics is
more easily extended to learn a new idea.
It improves problem solving abilities the solution of novel problems requires transferring ideas
learned in one context to new situations. When concepts are embedded in originate work,
transferability is significantly enhanced and, thus, so is problem solving.
It is self generative as networks grow and become more structured, they increase the potential for
invention
It improves attitudes and beliefs when ideas are well and is didnt make sense, the learner tends to
develop a positive self concept about his or her ability to learn and understand mathematics.

Concepts and procedures


Conceptual and procedural knowledge
Conceptual knowledge is knowledge that consists of rich relationships or webs of ideas.
Procedural knowledge is knowledge of the rules and procedures used in carrying out routine mathematical
tasks and also the symbolism used to represent mathematics.
Interaction of conceptual and procedural knowledge
Procedural knowledge of mathematics does have a very important role both in learning and in doing
mathematics. Algorithmic procedures help us do routine tasks easily and, thus, free our minds to concentrate
on more important tasks. But even the most skilful use of a procedure will not help develop conceptual
knowledge that is related to that procedure. Procedural rules should never be taught in the absence of
concepts. All mathematics procedures can and should be connected to the conceptual ideas that explain why
they work.
Classroom influences on learning
Effective teachers must help students construct their own ideas using ideas they already have. The following
three factors influencing classroom learning are worth discussing:
Reflective thought for a new idea you are teaching to be interconnected in a rich web of
interrelated ideas, children must be mentally engaged. They must find the relevant ideas they possess
and bring them to bear on the development of the new idea. A significant key to getting students to
be reflective is to engage them in problems that force them to use their ideas as they search for
solutions and create new ideas in the process.
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Students learning from others reflective thought and, hence, learning are enhanced when the
learner is engaged with others working on the same ideas Vygotsky theorised that social
interaction is a key component in the development of knowledge. He referred to the transfer of ideas
from those that are external to the individual ideas exchanged in the social settingto those that
are internal, personal constructs, as internalisation. Internalisation only occurs within each learner
zone of proximal development, a symbolic space created through the interaction of learners with
more knowledge of all others and the culture that precedes them. Classroom discussion based on
students own ideas and solutions to problems is absolutely foundational to childrens learning.

Mathematical communities of learners


The four features of a productive classroom culture for mathematics in which students can learn from each
other as well as from their own reflective activity are:
1. Ideas are important, no matter whose ideas they are.
2. Ideas must be shared with the others in the class.
3. Trust must be established with an understanding that it is OK to make mistakes.
4. Students must come to understand the mathematics makes sense.
The Role of Models in Developing Understanding
Manipulatives, or physical materials to model mathematical concepts, are certainly important tools for
helping children learn mathematics. But they are not the panacea that some educators seem to believe them
to be. It is important that you have a good perspective on how manipulatives can help or fail to help children
construct ideas.
Models for mathematical concepts

The model for a mathematical concept refers to any object, picture, or drawing that represents the
concept or onto which the relationship with a concept can be imposed.
It is important to include calculators in the near list of common models. The calculator models a
wide variety of numeric relationships by quickly and easily demonstrating the effects of these ideas.

Models and constructing mathematics


To see a concept in a model, you must have some relationship in your mind to impose on the model. The
teacher already has the correct mathematical concept and can see it in the model. A student without the
concept sees only the physical object or perhaps an incorrect concept. A child would need to know the
relationship before imposing it on the marble.

Models can play the role of a testing ground for emerging ideas. They can be thought of as a thinker
toys, tester toys, and talker toys.
Models give learners something to think about, explore with, talk about, and reason with.
Models should always be accessible for students to select and use freely. Do not for students to use a
particular model.

Expanding the idea of a model


There are five representations for concepts. Children who have difficulty translating a concept from one
representation to another are the same children have difficulty solving problems and understanding
computations. These representations are:
Pictures
Written symbols
Oral language
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Real world situations


Manipulative models

Incorrect use of models


The most widespread misuse of manipulative materials occurs when the teacher tells students, do as I do.
A natural result of overly directing the use of models is that children begin to use them as answer getting
devices rather than as thinker toys.
Teaching Developmentally
Teaching involves decision-making. Decisions are made as you plan lessons and minute to minute in the
classroom. The ideas explored in this chapter provide a foundation for making these decisions. These ideas
are:
Children construct their own knowledge and understanding; we cannot transmit ideas to passive
learners.
Knowledge and understanding are unique for each learner.
Reflective thinking is the single most important ingredient for effective learning.
The socio cultural environment of the mathematical community of learners interacts with and
enhances students development of mathematical ideas.
Models for mathematical ideas help students explore and talk about mathematical ideas.
Effective teaching is a student centred activity.
CHAPTER 4
TEACHING THROUGH PROBLEM SOLVING
In the problem solving approach, a thought provoking activity is used as a vehicle of learning.
A problem centred approach uses a non routine problem as a vehicle of learning.
Each of these approaches is known as a problem-based approach to teaching and learning.
Problem solving as a principal instructional strategy
Most, if not all, important mathematics concepts and procedures can best be taught through problem solving.
Problems and tasks for learning mathematics
A problem is defined here as any task or activity for which the students have no prescribed or memorised
rules or methods, nor is there a perception by students and that there is a specific correct solution method.
A problem for learning mathematics also has these features:
It must begin when the students are must take into consideration the current understanding of the
students.
The problematic or engaging aspect of the problem must be due to the mathematics that the students
are to learn.
It must require justification and explanations for answers and methods.
A shift in thinking about mathematics instruction

Teaching should begin with the ideas that children already have, the ideas they will use to create new
ones.
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Students learn mathematics as a result of solving problems.


Mathematical ideas are the outcomes of the problem solving experience from rather than elements
that must be taught before problem solving.
Children are learning mathematics by doing mathematics.

The value of teaching with problems

Problem solving places the focus of the students attention on ideas and sense making.
Problem solving develops a belief in students that they are capable of doing mathematics and that
mathematics makes sense.
Problem solving provides on going assessment data that can be used to make instructional decisions,
help students succeed, and inform parents.
Problem solving allows an entry point for a wide range of students.
A problem-based approach engages students so that there are fewer discipline problems.
Problem solving develops mathematical power.
It is a lot of fun.

A three-part lesson format


The before phase of the lesson
There are three related agendas for the before phase of the lesson:
1. Be sure that students understand the problem so that you will not need to clarify or explain to
individuals later in the lesson.
2. Clarify your expectations to students before they begin working on the problem. This includes both
how they will be working and what product you expect in addition to an answer.(think-write-pairshare)
3. Get students mentally prepared to work on the problem and think about the previous knowledge they
have therefore be most helpful.(Begin with the simple version of the task; brainstorm solutions;
estimate or use mental computation)
The during phase of the lesson
Although this is the portion of the lesson when students work alone or with partners, there are clear agendas
that you will want to attend to:
1. Let go! Give students a chance to work with our tour guide and all direction.
2. Listen actively to your students. This is a time for observation and assessment not teaching!
3. Cautiously provide appropriate hints. Be careful not to imply that you have the correct method of
solving the problem.
4. Providing profitable or activity for students who finished quickly.
The after phase of the lesson
In the after phase of the lesson, your students will work as a community of learners, discussing, justifying,
and challenging various solutions to the problem all have just worked on. The agendas for the after phase
are:
1. Engage the class in productive discussion, helping students work together as a community of
learners.
2. Listen actively without evaluation. Take this second major opportunity to find out how students are
thinkinghow they are approaching the problem. Evaluating methods and solutions is the duty of
your students.
3. Summarise main ideas and identify problems for future exploration.
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Designing and selecting effective tasks


A task is effective when it helps students to learn the ideas you want them to learn.
Your textbook
Good teachers use the text as a resource and as a basic guide to the curriculum. And
To use a tradition of textbook, examine a chapter or unit from beginning to end, and identify the 2 to 4 big
ideas, the essential mathematics in the chapter. You can now do two things: adapt to the best or most
important lessons in the chapter to a problem solving format; create or find tasks in the texts teacher notes
and other resources that address the big ideas.
Good problems have multiple entry points
Access to the problem by all students demands that there be multiple entry pointsdifferent places to get
on the ramp to reach solutions.
Childrens literature
Children so stories can be used to create reflective tasks at all grade levels.
A task selection guide
Step 1: How is the activity done?
Step 2: what is the purpose of the activity?
Step 3: will the activity accomplish its purpose?
Step 4: what must you do?
The importance of student writing

The act of writing is a reflective process.


A written report is a rehearsal for the discussion period.
A written report is also a written record that remains when the lesson is finished.

Teaching about problem solving


Students need to be taught problem solving strategies and processes.
Strategies and processes
Strategies for resolving problems are identifiable methods of approaching a task that are completely
independent of the specific topic or subject matter.
Strategy and process goals
Develop problem analysis skills
Developer and selectors strategies
Justify solutions
Developing problem solving strategies

When important or especially useful strategies crop up, they should be identified, highlighted, and discussed.
The following strategies are most likely to appear in lessons we mathematical content is the main objective.
Draw a picture, act it out, use a model.
Look for a pattern
Make a table or chart
Try a simpler form of the problem
Guess and check
Make an organized list
Metacognition
Metacognition refers to conscious monitoring (being aware of how and why you are doing something) and
regulation (choosing to do something or deciding to make changes) of your own thought process. Students
who learn to monitor and regulate their own problem solving behaviour do show improvement in problem
solving.
The metacognitive goal is to monitor and regulate actions to help students develop the habit and ability to
monitor and regulate their strategies and progress as they solve problems.
It is important to help students to learn to monitor and control their own progress in problem solving. A
simple formula that can be employed consists of three questions:
What are you doing?
Why are you doing it?
How does it help you?
Disposition
Refers to the attitudes and beliefs that students posses about mathematics.
Attitudinal goals are:
Gain confidence and belief in abilities
Be willing to take risks and to persevere
Enjoy doing mathematics
CHAPTER 5
PLANNING IN THE PROBLEM BASED CLASSROOM
Planning a problem-based lesson
Choices of tasks and how they are presented to students must be made daily to best fit the needs of your
students and the objectives you are hired to teach.
Step 1: Begin with the math! Articulate clearly the ideas you want students to learn in terms of
mathematical concepts.
Step 2: Consider your students. What they already know, and what is needed for them to build on that
knowledge.
Step 3: Decide on a task. Keep it simple
Step 4: Predict what will happen.
Step 5: Articulate student responsibilities
Step 6: Plan the before portion of the lesson
Step 7: Plan the during portion of the lesson
Step 8: Plan the after portion of the lesson
Step 9: Write your lesson plan
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Variations of the three-part lesson


Minilessons
A profitable strategy for short tasks in think-pair-share.
Workstations and games
It is often useful for students to work at different tasks or games at various locations around the room.
Dealing with diversity
Be sure that problems have multiple entry points.
Plan differentiated tasks plan a task with multiple versions; some less difficult, others more so.
Use heterogenous groupings capitalise on the diversity in your classroom.
Make accommodations and modifications for English language learners an accommodation is a
provision of different environment or circumstances made with particular students in mind; a
modification refers to a change in the problem or task itself. ( Equity is not the same as equality we
must create accommodations that will help each child be successful)
Listen carefully to students
Drill or practice?
New definitions of Drill and Practice
Practice different problem based tasks or experiences, spread over numerous class periods, each
addressing the same basic ideas.
Drill repetitive, non-problem-based exercises designed to improve skills or procedures already acquired.
What drill provides
An increased facility with a strategy but only with a strategy already learned
A focus on a singular method and an exclusion of flexible alternatives
A false appearance of understanding
A rule oriented view of what maths is all about
Drill can only help students get faster at what they already know.
What practice provides

An increased opportunity to develop conceptual ideas and more elaborate and useful connections
An opportunity to develop alternative and flexible strategies
A greater chance for all students to understand, not just a few
A clear message that mathematics is about figuring things out and making sense.

When is drill appropriate?


Drill is only appropriate when:
An efficient strategy for the skill to be drilled is already in place
Automaticity with the skill or strategy is a desired outcome.
Automaticity means that the skill can be performed quickly and mindlessly.
Kids who dont get it
A conceptual approach is the best way to help students who struggle. Drill is simply not the answer.
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Homework
Practice as homework

A problem-based task can be assigned for homework if the difficulty of the task is within the reach of
most of the students.
On the follow day, begin immediately with a discussion of the task.
Some form of written work must be required so that students are held responsible for the task and are
prepared for the class discussion.

Drill as homework
Never assign drill as a substitute for practice before the concepts have been developed. If you do assign drill
for homework;
Keep it short
Provide an answer key
Never grade homework based on correctness
Do not waste valuable classroom time going over drill homework
The role of the textbook
Suggestions for textbook use

Teach to the big ideas or concepts, not the pages


Consider the conceptual portions of the lessons as ideas or inspirations for planning more problemsbased activities.
Let the pace of your lessons through a unit be determined by student performance and understanding
rather than the artificial norm of two pages per day.
Use the ideas in the teachers edition
Remember there is no law saying every page must be done or every exercise completed.

CHAPTER 6
BUILDING ASSESSMENT INTO INSTRUCTION
Blurring the line between instruction and assessment
Assessment:
Should enhance students learning
Is a valuable tool for making instructional decisions.
What is assessment?
Assessment is the process of gathering evidence about a students knowledge of, ability to use and
disposition towards mathematics and of making inferences from that evidence for a variety of purposes.
-Assessment can and should happen every day as an integral part of instruction.
The Assessment Standards
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The mathematics standard assessment should reflect the mathematics that all students need to know and
be able to do.
The learning standard assessment should enhance mathematics and learning.
The equity standard assessment should promote equity
The equity standard mandates that assessments respect the unique qualities, experiences, and
expertise of every student.
The openness standard assessment should be an open process
The openness standard reminds us that students need to know what is expected of them and how they
can demonstrate what they know.
The inferences standard assessment should promote their lead inferences about mathematics learning
The inferences standard requires that teachers reflect seriously and honestly on what students are
revealing about what they know.
The coherence standard assessment should be a coherent a process
The coherence standard reminds us that our assessment techniques must reflect both the objectives of
instruction as well as the methods of instruction.
Purposes of assessment

Monitoring student progressassessment should provide both teacher and students with ongoing
feedback concerning progress towards those goals. This promotes growth.
Making instructional decisions teachers planning tasks each day to develop students understanding
must have daily information about how students are thinking and what ideas they are using and
developing. This improves instruction.
Evaluating student achievement evaluation involves a teachers judgement. It should reflect
performance criteria about what students know and understand; it should not be used to compare one
student with another. This recognizes accomplishment.
Evaluating programmes assessment should be used as one component in answering the question,
how well did this programme worked to achieve my goals?

What should be assessed?


Appropriate assessment should reflect the full range of mathematics: concepts and procedures, mathematical
processes, and even students disposition to mathematics.
Assessment tasks are learning tasks
Good tasks should permit every student in the class, regardless of mathematical prowess, to demonstrate
some knowledge, skills, or understanding.
Rubrics and performance indicators: scoring not grading

Scoring comparing students work to criteria or rubrics that describe what we expect the work to
be.
Grading the result of accumulating scores and other information about the students work for the
purpose of summarising and communicating to others.
Rubric a framework that can be designed or adapted by the teacher for a particular group of
students or a particular mathematical task. It consists of a scale of 3 to 6 points that is used as a rating
of performance rather than a count of how many items are correct or incorrect. The rating or score is
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applied by examining total performance on a task as opposed to counting the number of items
correct. Note that are rubric is a skill to judge performance on a single task, not a series of exercises.
Performance indicators
Performance indicators are task-specific statements that describe what performance looks like at each level
of the rubric and in so doing establish criteria for acceptable performance. A rubric and its performance
indicators should focus you and your students on your goals.
Writing and journals
Writing is both a learning and an assessment opportunity.
The value of writing

When students write, they express their own ideas and use their own words and language. It is
personal.
As an assessment tool writing provides a unique window to students thoughts and the way a student
is thinking about an idea.

Journals
Journals are a place for students to write about such things as:
Their conceptual understandings and problem solving, including descriptions of ideas, solutions, and
justifications of problems, graphs, charts, and observations.
Their questions concerning the current topic, an idea that they may need help with, or an idea they
dont quite understand.
Their feelings about aspects of mathematics, their confidence in their understanding, or their fears of
being wrong.
To grade journal writing defeats its purpose. It is essential, however, that you read and respond to journal
writing.
Writing prompts and ideas
Students should always have a clear, a well defined purpose for writing in the journals. They need to know
exactly what to write about and who the audience is, and they should be given a definite time frame within
which to write.
Student self assessment
In a self-assessment, students make tell you:
How well they think they understand a piece of content.
What they believe or how they feel about some aspect of mathematics, perhaps what you are
covering right now.
Tell your students why you are having them do this activity. Encourage them to be honest and candid.
Tests
Like all other forms of assessment, tests should reflect the goals of your instruction. Tests can be designed to
find out what concepts students have and how the ideas are connected. Tests of procedural knowledge
should go beyond just knowing how to perform an algorithm and should allow and require the student to
demonstrate the conceptual basis for the process.
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CHAPTER 16
DEVELOPING FRACTION CONCEPTS
Big ideas

Fractional parts are equal shares or equal-sized portions of a whole or unit.


Fractional parts have special names that tell how many parts of that size are needed to make the
whole.
The more fractional parts used to make a whole, the smaller the parts.
The denominator of a fraction indicates by what number the whole has been divided in order to
produce the type of part under consideration. The numerator counts or tells how many of these
fractional parts are under consideration.
Two equivalent fractions are two ways of describing the same amount by using different sized
fractional parts.

Sharing and the concept of fractional parts


In constructing the idea of fractional parts of the whole, children eventually make the connections between
the idea of fair shares and fractional parts, making sharing tasks a good place to begin the development of
fractions.
Sharing tasks

Generally posed in the form of a simple story problem.


Task difficulty changes with the numbers involved, the types of things to be shared, and the presence
or use of a model.

Sharing tasks and fraction language


Children need to be aware of the components of fractional parts (1) the number of parts and (2) the equality
of the parts.
Emphasise that the number of parts of the whole determine the name of the fractional parts or shares.
Models for fractions
Models can help students clarify ideas.
There are three types of models that are used for fractions:
Region or Area models circular pie pieces, paper grids
Length or Measurement models fraction strips, number lines, folded paper strips.
Set models the whole is understood to be a set of objects.
From fractional parts to fraction symbols
Top and bottom numbers

Top number the counting number. It tells how many shares or parts we have.
Bottom number this tells what is being counted, it tells what fractional part is being counted.

It is important to see the bottom number as the divisor and the top number as the multiplier.
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Fraction number sense


Children should know about how big a particular fraction is and be able to tell easily which of two fractions
is larger, this can be learned through the teaching of benchmarks.
Benchmarks of zero, one half and one
The most important reference points or benchmarks for fractions are 0, and 1.
Understanding why a fraction is close to one of these benchmarks is a good beginning for fraction number
sense.
CHAPTER 17
COMPUTATION WITH FRACTIONS

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