Fractions - tricky bits and misunderstandings
Here are some common difficulties children have with fractions:
1) The language of fractions trips them up:
|Fraction word||Order / Numbering Word|
See how the same word is used with two different meanings: sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth . . . . this can cause a lot of confusion early on.
2) Dividing into three parts doesn't always make a third.
Take this "cake" - whoever got the first slice would be very happy!
The parts must be equal to be thirds!
3) Thinking that fractions always have the same shape:
Learners are used to seeing fractions like this:
But they sometimes don't realise this could also be a quarter:
4) Getting mixed up between a "fraction" and a "fraction of a number"
Young learners can get their head around the idea that a half is bigger than a quarter.
However tell them that one quarter of 200 is bigger than one half of 50 and you may see the confusion in their faces. Again this is a language issue because learners don't pick up on the big difference between "one quarter" and "one quarter of..."
How can parents help?
1) Never miss a chance to get your child using fractions at the dinner table or when baking in the kitchen.
2) Listen and talk to your child about fractions. For ages 4 to 6 this will be about the common fractions - halves, quarters, thirds.
3) As children get older they'll start simplifying and adding fractions - to keep up with this, sign up to our blog to stay up to date with how to support your child as they learn.
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