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# Secondary Magazine - Issue 115: From the Library

Created on 07 October 2014 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 28 October 2014 by ncetm_administrator

# From the Library Shh! No Talking!

This new regular feature will highlight an article or research paper that has a bearing on teaching mathematics today

In this issue, It Stands to Reason focusses on pupils reasoning with fractions so our library article this month is Key understandings in mathematics learning, Paper 3: Understanding rational numbers and intensive quantities by Terezinha Nunes and Peter Bryant.

This paper is one of a series that were commissioned by the Nuffield Foundation in 2007 to review the available research literature on how children learn mathematics. The paper concentrates on how fractions are taught in primary schools, but we’ve suggested it for this month’s library article because we think it will help you understand some of the difficulties your pupils may be having with fractions in KS3 and 4. As the article says,

"even after the age of 11 many students have difficulty in knowing whether two fractions are equivalent and do not know how to order some fractions. For example, in a study carried out in London, students were asked to paint 23 of figures divided in 3, 6 and 9 equal parts. The majority solved the task correctly when the figure was divided into 3 parts but 40% of the 11- to 12-year-old students could not solve it when the figure was divided into 6 or 9 parts, which meant painting an equivalent fraction (46 and 69, respectively)."

We think that, having read this paper, you will have a deeper understanding of why your pupils find fractions difficult, and also some ideas how to respond to this and to lead them to more secure conceptual and procedural confidence. Let us know what you think.

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