In this Brad demonstrates a powerful yet simple activity for fostering number sense with fractions, decimals, and percents. We all know how important number sense is in the development of mathematical thinking, and we also know that many students struggle with fraction concepts. This activity will help students acquire crucial skills in all three part/whole representations: percents, decimals, and fractions. Brad also extends this concept to help students formulate algebraic reasoning.
While a textbook is fine for providing skills practice for students, number sense can only be developed through the teaching processes we design for our students. These number-rich environments are the best soil in which to nurture the higher thinking skills necessary to develop number sense.
Knowing what constitutes number sense in the mind of a student is much like knowing what makes a work of literature great. We can’t always put it in concrete terms, but we know when it is there. However, we can list the five factors that make up number sense:
Effects of Operations
Brad integrates each of these components into the lesson. The questions Brad poses to his class during the activity not only challenge the students, they are what fuels the development of the number sense itself. It is always Brad’s goal to ensure that every student is engaged in the task. Brad easily extends this activity in his algebra class. Thinking accelerates when the numbers are replaced with variables. Due to the higher level of thinking, far fewer cards are placed on the number line.
This is a powerful yet easy-to-teach activity. Students incorporate so many of the components of number sense in this lesson. They used estimation skills, mental computation, and even relied on their previous knowledge of operations with simplifying and comparing fractions. They reasoned about the effects these operations have, and discussed the magnitudes of the fractions.
This DVD is coupled with a PDF handout to form a powerful tool for effective instruction. The accompanying handout provides nearly 200 cards of fractions, decimals, percents, and algebraic expressions. A set of blank cards enables you to design customized cards for your students also.
We are always surprised at how creative and resourceful our students can be when they are given the opportunity to step outside the textbook and journey through the rich world of number sense. We’re sure your students will enjoy participating in this activity as well, and they’ll be enriching their number sense with fractions, decimals, and percents as well.