Students need opportunities to develop a good understanding of the strategies they use for working with fractions. They should be encouraged to test and develop strategies for comparing fractions, making equivalent fractions, and adding and subtracting fractions.
Some teaching approaches that help students develop appropriate strategies for working with fractions include:
- making discussion of strategies a regular feature of lessons
- modelling fractions using a range of representations such as area diagrams, fraction walls and number lines
- reminding students to think about the relative size of fractions, rather than looking at the numerator and denominator as separate numbers
- checking students' work after just one or two tasks to make sure they are not practising an inappropriate procedure
- challenging students to prove their solutions by modelling, explaining and justifying
- avoiding the teaching of a procedure without allowing ample opportunity for students to build an understanding of how and why it works.