Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

 Applying Communication
 Introduction | Bubble Gum Contest | Extending the Activity | Problem Reflection | Classroom Practice | Communication in Action | Classroom Checklist | Your Journal

Reflect on each of the following questions about the communication problem you observed seen in Ms. Hermida's class, and then select "Show Answer" to reveal our responses.

 Question: What previous knowledge do students need to bring to this task? Show Answer
 Our Answer: The students need to understand that fractions can describe part of a set, such as 2/16 of a class. They need to understand that using equivalent fractions to represent data when making comparisons is the same as using the original ratio. It is helpful to have some familiarity with basics of number lines, such as knowing that larger numbers are to the right, that equal intervals must be used, and how to represent fractions.
 Question: How does this problem help students extend their understanding of fractions? Show Answer
 Our Answer: Students add meaning to fractions when they work to create them from ratios that are based on their own data. As they work with and discuss the number line, they expand their understanding of equivalent fractions and see that these fractions represent the same number on a number line. They demonstrate to one another that fractions can be compared on a number line. They connect denominators to the number of subdivisions in a unit.
 Question: What forms of communication, such as oral discussion or using representations, do the students experience during the videotaped part of the lesson? Show Answer
 Our Answer: The students see symbols used for fractions and hear related language. For example, as they hear "Six out of 20 could blow a bubble," they see the teacher write the fraction 6/20. During their conversations, they build number sense about fractions as they decide whether a fraction is closest to 0, 1/2, or 1. It is apparent that prior to the whole-group lesson, the small groups have engaged in considerable discussion as they organized and summarized their data.
 Question: How does the teacher address the Communication Standard during her efforts to increase student understanding of fractions on a number line? Show Answer
 Our Answer: The teacher uses questioning techniques to help students share their thinking in the hope that they will reflect on one another's ideas and increase their understanding of fractions. She models the use of the number line to organize and analyze information. As she works to have everyone understand why a fraction is marked in a specific place on the number line, she models clear communication in the whole-class discussion by paraphrasing and restating key ideas and asking clarifying questions.
 Question: What do you think is the effect of the lesson on students who have a weak understanding of fractions? Show Answer
 Our Answer: It seems like a safe experience for such students, since they are working together as a class to compare the ratios. They may get confused as to why simplified fractions are being used to represent the classes' bubble blowers. They see the development of a logical, step-by-step process for comparing ratios, even if they are not ready to do such work on their own. They probably develop positive feelings about locating fractions on a number line and at least increase their ability to decide whether a fraction is closer to 0, 1/2, or 1.

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