Grades 34 Fraction Bars Teacher's Guide
Special Features of the Fraction Bars Program  
These third graders are placing bars on the 5Bars mats to find bars with the same shaded amount before activities that involve writing equalities of fractions.  
LEARNING WITH UNDERSTANDING The major feature of the Fraction Bars program is the use of visual models to illustrate fraction relationships and operations before the use of rules and formulas. Activities with concrete materials provide opportunities for students to discover and discuss concepts and generalizations.
MAKING SENSE OUT OF FRACTIONS AND THEIR RELATIONS The basic concept of fractions and equality and inequality are presented so that they make sense to students. Understanding and being comfortable with fraction numerals is the first and most important step. For example, the numeral 1/8 means something is divided into 8 equal parts and sence only one of these 8 parts is being indicated, the fraction is close to zero. Equality and inequality are introduced by comparing two bars to see if they have the same shaded amount or if one shaded amount is less than another. A fraction can be compared to 1/2 by just thinking about its numerator as compared to its denominator (or by thinking about the bar for the fraction). If the numerator is less than half of the denominator (or the bar is less than half shaded), the fraction is less than 1/2.
CONNECTIONS FROM WHOLE NUMBERS TO FRACTIONS Fraction operations are presented in such a way that students can connect to their knowledge about whole number operations. For example, addition means puttogether; subtraction means to compare two amounts or to take one amount away from the other. With fractions, students are using a different type of number, but the basic idea behind the operations is the same as for whole numbers. This is a connection that students seldom see in learning about fraction operations.
PROBLEM SOLVING AND APPLICATIONS
GAMES FOR SPECIFIC FRACTION SKILLS
