Middle School Students’ Difficulties in Locating Fractions on Number-Lines

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Learning rational number concepts is challenging for a variety of reasons for many middle school students. Past research documented students’ poor understanding of rational numbers. One reason behind this learning difficulty might be related to that rational numbers can be interpreted in many ways, such as understanding rational numbers as part-whole relations, measure, quotient, ratio, and operator. This study explored what meaning(s) of rational numbers middle school students use when locating fractions on number lines. Specifically, this study examined middle school students’ difficulties in locating rational numbers on number lines. A total of forty seventh graders from Turkey and United States were asked to locate proper and improper fractions on number lines. Results showed that the majority of Turkish and American students overgeneralized part-whole partitioning strategies to locate fractions on number-lines. Many students conceived the whole number line as one-unit and they did not consider the rational number on a number line represents some distance from a zero point when locating fractions on number lines.


Keywords: Rational Numbers, Number Line
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Huseyin Bahadir Yanik

Assistant Professor, College of Education-Mathematics Education, Anadolu University
Eskisehir, Turkey

H. Bahadir Yanik, hbyanik@anadolu.edu.tr , is an assistant professor working at Anadolu University in the Department of Elementary Education with an emphasis in Mathematics Education, in Eskisehir, Turkey. He is interested in teaching and learning mathematics (e.g., geometry and rational numbers), pre-service teacher education, professional development, and technology integration in teaching and learning mathematics.

Ref: L09P1742