typodupeerror

## Teaching Fractions: The Tootsie Roll Is the New Pie194

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the all-you-need-is-lambda dept.
theodp writes "Following up on a WSJ story, data visualization author Stephen Few illustrates why using lines or bars may be sweeter than pie when it comes to teaching kids fractions. 'Although the metaphor is easy to grasp (the slices add up to an entire pie),' explains Few, 'we know that visual perception does a poor job of comparing the sizes of slices, which is essential for learning to compare fractions. Learning that one-fifth is larger than one-sixth, which is counter-intuitive in the beginning, becomes further complicated when the individual slices of two pies — one divided into five slices and other into six — look roughly the same. Might it make more sense to use two lines divided into sections instead, which are quite easy to compare when placed near one another?' So, is the Tootsie Roll the new pie?"
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## Teaching Fractions: The Tootsie Roll Is the New Pie

• #### Re:Something weird just happened ... (Score:4, Interesting)

on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @08:59AM (#45013375) Homepage

Teachers also use word problems, discrete objects, and liquids, ideally delivered in quick enough succession that the student's brain catches the only constant: the concept of a fraction.

I think the problem isn't education research getting into the classroom - it's exactly the opposite. Teaching is an application-focused industry [xkcd.com]. When a teacher solves a particular educational problem, the technique stays within the school district, or perhaps makes a few rounds at educational conferences. The technique rarely gets any widespread attention, hardly any formal study, and is entirely forgotten within the decade... until an "educational researcher" stumbles across it and publishes a paper describing its effectiveness, which doesn't help because the school boards aren't interested in using new experimental techniques when their budgets are already in such jeopardy.

There is no Nobel Prize for education.

• #### No, Use a scale (Score:3, Interesting)

on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:26AM (#45013713)

Show them 1" on a ruler. Show them 1/4" increments. It's real easy to see 4 of those make up 1". Next show them 1/8" increments and 1/16" increment. They see pretty quickly how 16 can fit but the marks are smaller even though the number is bigger.

Now they've just learned how to read the crazy US Inch-standard system as well. Pretty handy for growing up in a slack-jawed yokel country who's politicians never let teachers adopt the metric system, but I digress...

Extra credit: show them a meter stick and listen to the gasp at how easy everything is because every little mark takes 10 units to get to the next larger unit of measure.

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