Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Fraction A Day - Day 1

I have heard some writers talk about writing every day, I have decided to take this approach with curriculum development. And will be creating a Fraction a day, to support an OER (Open Educational Resource) for mathematics education I am working on with some folks from OLPC (Randall Caton and
Edward Cherlin).

Rather than a complete curriculum/textbook/OER for each grade (which should be an end goal) I would like to tackle things one bite at a time, with the first bite being Fractions. Why? Its a subject kids struggle with and therefore teachers and parents worry/care about.  I do not want to re-invent the wheel here.  Lets use good existing ideas and it is possible to teach first graders to solve problems like: (1/2 x () + (2/5 X 10) -(1/2 x 8) = ? (see Lore Rasmussen et al - Lab Sheet Annotations and Mathematics for the Primary Teacher, pg 140).  If we can provide good materials to help kids understand fractions and get evidence that they work we will create a good entrance path for the rest of our materials.

So a couple of tasks:
  1. Identify XO Activities we can use to teach fractions (I spend most of my time in Etoys, but we should use Turtle Art and others)
  2. Identify existing lessons we can refer to or re-render (ex:
  3. Identify virtual manipulatives needed (I have cuisenaire rods and pattern blocks in Etoys, here is a nice one at Illuminations)
  4. Identify physical manipulatives that can be used (and id how can be easily and cheaply created by kids/teachers)
  5. Identify no computer, concrete activities kids can do (ex: 1) Fold a paper in half and cut, 2) Label as 1 piece of X needed to make a whole sheet; repeat)
  6. Create/Identify a lesson, manipulative, blog pos or video each day. Okay ambitious, but do-able (for short sprints). It helps me keep the perfect from being the enemy of the good and gets me focused and moving.  I look at it as the equivalent of some writers practice of writing something every day.
  7. Identify Models of Fractions and how we can present these different models in concrete forms as a kind of Fraction Exploratorium
  8. Identify common mis-conceptions learners have about fractions and using them and identify ways of addressing these mis-conceptions.

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