Do your students detest fractions? I know mine do - even the kids that are in my AP Calculus class hate it when a problem involves fractions in any way. Although they CAN work with fractions, if they can avoid it, they absolutely will!

I have thought about this and observed students in action with fractions for a long time. I feel like fractions are a dividing line between students "good" at math, and those that struggle. I suppose there are some students in between, but mostly I feel like fractions is the place where kids either GET IT, or they start to lag behind.

Why is that? Maybe it's because to work with fractions, you have to know some rules. To use some rules, you have to memorize them. (e.g. If fractions have a common denominator, you can add or subtract them. If they don't you have to get a common denominator...how do you get one, etc.) Some students are not good math rule followers or memorizers. Why? I don't know. Some kids just refuse, but some just struggle, even though they try.

What can we do to help students with fractions?

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I teach remedial math college students. Their first class is called "Fractions, Decimals and Percents." First of all students do not realize that all three are the same thing, just written in a different format. I also do NOT teach LCD or GCF. I have developed some unusual strategies which my students seem to "get" for the first time. If you are interested and want to take a peek, go to:

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I agree about "rules." I don't teach math, but English. I see that with grammar. Students who are willing to learn some rules are more likely to learn others.

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