Addition of fractions is connected to addition of whole numbers by solving word problems that require putting together two amounts. Sums greater than 1 lead to improper fractions. This type of fraction was not commonly accepted until the ninth century. Combing the shaded amounts of Fraction Bars with different sized parts to obtain sums leads to the need to find common size parts, that is, to find common denominators for the fractions. Examples of replacing two fractions by fractions having the same denominator is illustrated with the bars. A national test given to 13-year-olds shows poor understanding of fractions; 26% of the students could not correctly compute the sum of two fractions having the same denominator and 1/3 of the students added fractions by adding their numerators and adding their denominators. The video ends with demonstrations of the free interactive web games "Fraction Bars Racing Two Bars" and "Target Sums One and One-half Bars" from fractionbars.com.

Visit FractionBars.com for more information.

Tagged under: Addition,fractions, numbers connection,improper fractions,combining amounts,common denominators,national test,poor understanding,fraction game,meaningful,intuitive,sense-making,home ed.,teaching,learning,instructional video,Fraction Bars,Albert B. Bennett,Jr.

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