


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


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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,606
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


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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,614
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


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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


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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 15,639
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

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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


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


Definitely fractions first.
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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....

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