


06292009, 08:26 AM

Comrade


Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 267


Teach Fractions or Decimals first? Seeks Math Whiz help! :)
Normally I'd post this in the elementary section because I teach 4th grade... but I thought those that teach upper level math might be able to give me insight as well.
We use Everyday Math for our curriculum, though I do not follow it page by page exactly. In the curriculum it introduces decimals first (up to the thousandths) and then introduces fractions a couple chapters later.
The way it deals with decimals is by using cubes, longs, and flats. A flat is made up of 100 tiny cubes and a long is made up of 10 tiny cubes. So if the Flat is the whole (the One) then 1 long = 0.1 or 1/10, and the cube = 0.01 or 1/100th. As far as I can remember, it doesn't actually show the fraction.
They develop their understanding of a decimal being only part of one by looking at the concept that 0.1 x 10 = 1... etc etc.
Do you agree that dealing with the decimal concept first is good, and then dealing with fraction concepts after??
I'm not sure if either one is better first.. I just know that it was a challenging concept for my kids in general.
Thoughts????

06292009, 08:38 AM


Connoisseur


Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,652
GED & Science Teacher


I'm not a math teacher, but I can say from my experiences tutoring developmental math at a community college, I had the best results doing fractions first.
Many of the people I tutored had severe cases of math phobia and were trying to pass prealgebra so they could take the classes they needed for credit. I also tutored people trying to pass Praxis I (those ones scared me, I must admit...). Fractions and decimals pretty much universally scared them silly, but I found that they dealt best with decimals after getting comfortable with fractions and percents. For example, the concept of .5 being 1/2 and 50% off made sense to them once I took them through newspaper sale ads. I also used money.
I can't provide any input on how this translates to elementary school kids though.
Edited to remove the evidence of me being a dodo brain.

06292009, 08:58 AM


Comrade


Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 392


We use Scott Foresman math and we teach fractions first and then move into decimals.

06292009, 09:59 AM


Connoisseur


Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,664
NC
Kindergarten Teacher


Seems like most kids would have learned some fractions first. For decimals, the base 10 blocks you mentioned are great. Money works well to: 10 cents is 1/10 of a dollar, etc.

06292009, 10:00 AM


Habitué


Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 828
OH
Mathematics Professor


Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydoll
...For example, the concept of .3 being 1/3 and 30% ...

I don't think we want to be telling them that

06292009, 10:19 AM


Comrade


Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 385
California
6th Grade Language Arts


We use Houghton Mifflin math series and teach fractions first. Once my group understood fractions, decimals were easy.

06292009, 11:13 AM


Moderator


Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 15,935
Florida


No, .3 does not equal 1/3.
I think you have to constantly use both decimals and fractions and constantly point out the equivalents.
When I used a base ten set, I used the cube for 1 whole so that I could get down to the thousandths. I always noted both the fraction and decimal forms.
Do you do calendar math every morning? That helps a lot.

06292009, 11:33 AM

Comrade


Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 267


Quote:
Originally Posted by Upsadaisy
No, .3 does not equal 1/3.
I think you have to constantly use both decimals and fractions and constantly point out the equivalents.
When I used a base ten set, I used the cube for 1 whole so that I could get down to the thousandths. I always noted both the fraction and decimal forms.
Do you do calendar math every morning? That helps a lot.

No we don't do calendar math in the 4th grade. EDM uses a cube (or I think EDM calls them blocks) as the whole when they start to introduce thousandths.. but first they make a flat the whole... not sure if I want to just start with the block as a whole, or do the switch like they do. They switch the whole from flat to block so kids can understand that the whole changes as well.

06292009, 11:34 AM


Enthusiast


Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,054
TX
Going to land a new position!


Definitely fractions first.
__________________
Often, when I am reading a good book, I stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. Author Unknown

06292009, 11:35 AM

Comrade


Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 267


I wish I knew why EDM put their major decimal chapter before their major fraction chapter....

Posting Rules

You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
HTML code is Off





All times are GMT 6. The time now is 05:06 AM.
