Grades 5-8 Fraction Bars Teacher's Guide


Fraction Bars is a total program of manipulatives, activities, games, activity sheets, performance objectives, tests, and computer games for teaching all fraction concepts. Since it was first introduced in the late nineteen sixties, Fraction Bars has continued to gain wide national acceptance as a successful method for teaching all fraction concepts and operations with understanding.

The Fraction Bars program uses a conceptual approach throughout, as supported by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

"Teachers can also help students add and subtract fractions correctly by helping them develop meaning for numerator, denominator, and equivalence and by encouraging them to use benchmarks and estimation…. Students who have a solid conception foundation in fractions should be less prone to committing computational errors than students who do not have such a foundation."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NCTM Standards 2000, page 218

The student in the following photo is placing the Fraction Bar for 1/2 on a 5-Bars mat to compare shaded amounts to determine equivalencies of fractions. She is using "homemade" mats and bars that were developed before Fraction Bars were commercially produced in the early nineteen seventies.

Fraction Bars activities develop gradually from concrete to abstract and provide an intuitive understanding of relations and operations with fractions. The understanding students develop through their use of Fraction Bars helps them discover fraction rules and that fractions can be a "sense-making experience".

The Fraction Bars program successfully uses manipulatives, diagrams, and oral language to develop the concepts of fractions. The philosophy of presenting activities with concrete models before introducing fractions and their terminology is consistent with recommendations in the Standards:

"Representing numbers with various physical materials should be a major part of mathematics instruction in the elementary school grades. … As students gain understanding of numbers and how to represent them, they have a foundation for understanding relationships among numbers."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> NCTM Standards 2000, page 33

The Grades 5-8 Fraction Bars Teacher's Guide has eight sections with the topics of Basic Concepts, Equality, Inequality, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, and a final section called Fractions-Decimals-Percents. Each step is contained on two facing pages with objectives, activities, lists of materials, and references to related games, worksheets, and interactive computer games. With the addition of eight new computer games, there are now 16 such games on fractionbars.com. Brief descriptions of these games are included in this guide in the appropriate lessons. Another new feature of this guide is the final section that relates fractions, decimals, and percents.