Updated: Dec 28, 2019
In junior and middle school, students usually spend a good chunk of math class time trying to understand the concept of a fraction in a modelling, hands on format.
“Isn’t it a good thing?”- you might ask.
Yes and no.
When a student first learns what a fraction is, using pizza examples and stripes is great to visually model the parts and the wholes.
However, in grade 7 it is important to adequately incorporate an algebraic method of adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing and comparing fractions, as well as mixed numbers.
Operations with fractions are the foundation for many other, more complex math operations and concepts.
If a student is aiming at becoming a structural engineer, an architecht, an AI specialist, a pharmacist, etc., the student needs to be able to quickly operate fractions and other fun math concepts that are based on fractions.
There will be no time for drawing pizzas or blocks or stripes (and they will certainly not be at hand). They will be required to add 5 2/3 and 3 1/2 on a piece of paper or on their tablet (since basic calculators do not have a fraction option).
”Why do I need to think about it now, when my child/student is only in grade 6?!” Well, because this is when the foundation for operations with fractions is being covered at school. Junior and middle school years are crucial for that.
It is really important that going into high school, a student knows not only how fractions are created and how to model parts and wholes using manipulatives, but also how to operate them algebraically.
The student should be taught proper terminology and correct algorithms that with regular practice become mechanical enough so that the student can focus on more complex ideas, without even stopping to think how to add or divide any two fractions.
intomath.org grade 6 and 7 video lessons with accompanying notes focus on important terminology and operations with fractions/mixed numbers. Sign up today to gain access.