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# Using the part-whole model

The part-whole construct of fractions, when modelled with area diagrams, provides a useful tool for developing an initial understanding of fractions. Watch the video *The Part-Whole Meaning for Fractions*.

You can download the *Part-Whole* *Meaning for Fractions* video transcript.

However, care must be taken in teaching to ensure students fully understand the concepts involved. Otherwise, a range of misconceptions commonly arise, such as:

- taking notice of the number of parts only, rather than their equality
- seeing the written fractions as a double count of parts, existing as two whole numbers rather than a single number
- using different wholes when attempting to compare the size of two fractions.

Good teaching of the part-whole area model includes:

- developing visualisation skills to build a sense of the relative sizes of commonly used fractions
- using grids and arrays when exploring equivalence in order to promote multiplicative thinking (factors and multiples) rather than only additive thinking.