Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

Concepts vs Shortcuts

This discussion is part of a collection:Operations with Fractions

We all strive to teach the concepts behind operations for fractions, but at some point give in to the shortcuts. What strategies have you used in your classroom to continue to try and teach the concepts to students who struggle to understand fractions?


My 11 year old daughter was having a hard time with fractions. After sitting with her I realized that her teacher was teaching shortcuts without explaining the basics. I'm not a math teacher but I love fractions so I made my daughter sit with me till she really understood what it meant.

Then I made a website explaining the basics. I'd love to hear what people think about it (if it's really clear)


Nice work. You use plenty of good graphics that are to the point. I enjoyed voting on 17/4 and enjoyed seeing the poll results. My only 2 suggestions for you is to take time to talk about when and why we need the skills, and take a bit more time proof reading.

I hope that as we implement the CCSS for math we will have more time to build understanding using unit fractions first. Steve Weimar's introduction to the PD collection "Getting Off to a Good Start with Fractions" here on Mathlanding has some really great suggestions about the unit fraction concept and the concept of a whole. Having the time to help students develop a deep understanding of these fundamental concepts should help!

Thanks Path for that great suggestion! There are definitely alot of rich resources in that collection as well, all of these collections and resources work very nicely to compliment one another.