Mathematics – Essay Example

Fractions that look different at first glance, but are essentially equal are called equivalent fractions. By equal it means that they reduce to the same number and have an equal value (Charles, 2003).
When working with fractions with unlike denominators students should possess the following skills:
1. If given a fraction, they should be able to write an equivalent fraction with a different denominator.
2. They should know how to calculate the least common denominator of two fractions.
3. They should be able to identify numerators and denominators and also understand what they mean.
To explain equivalent fractions, manipulatives like the fraction strips can be used. Fraction strips are paper strips of the same size, which are folded according to the fraction used. For example if we want to find equivalent fractions for 1/5, then we can fold one strip into 5 folds. Then take another strip and fold it into 10 folds. When compared it will be seen that the first fold on the first strip is equal to the first two folds on the second strip. This means that 1/5 = 2/10 To find equivalent fractions one has to follow the following steps:
1. Choose a fraction for which equivalent fractions are to be found
2. Multiply both the numerator and the denominator by the same number
3. The resultant fraction will be equivalent to the first one we chose.
When we are given two fractions with unlike denominators to be converted to equivalent fractions, we use the following approach:
1. Find the least common denominator
2. We divide this common denominator by the individual denominators, and then multiply their respective numerators by the answer. For example, we have 2/5 and 3/7. The common denominator is 35. To convert them to equivalent fractions, we divide 35 by 5 and multiply 2 by the answer. Thus we get 2/5 = 14/35 and 3/7 = 15/35.
For students the transition from concrete manipulatives to paper-and-pencil problems is quite difficult. To make this transition smooth, the students should be instructed to make diagrams. Diagrams like simple squares, rectangles or circles are helpful when studying fractions (LeMieux, 2003).
PROBLEMS
1. What two fractions are equivalent to 6/7?
Write the missing number
2. 5/9 = __/27
3. 3/8 = __/64
4. 7/11 = 49/__
Convert to equivalent fractions
5. 5/8 and 4/9
6. 6/7 and 3/8
References
1. Randall I. Charles, (2003), Mathematics- Grade 4
2. Jeff LeMieux, (2003), Compare Fractions using Fractions Strips. Retrieved July 24, 2010 from http://www2.whidbey.net/ohmsmath/webwork/story/mf_story_fracstrp.htm