In "New Approaches to Teaching Fractions," Mathnasium's Chief Instructional Officer, Larry Martinek, discusses Mathnasium's unique approach to teaching elementary school kids to understand fractions.
Trouble with fractions is the most common reason parents seek math help for their fourth- and fifth-graders, says Larry Martinek, chief instructional officer of Mathnasium Learning Centers, a Los Angeles-based franchiser with 385 U.S. tutoring centers. Many students are confused by the terms often used to describe fractions, such as "common denominator," so tutors offer clearer, more concrete names.
Denominators, for example, are "the name of the fraction," rather than simply "the bottom number," Mr. Martinek says. This helps kids understand why they can't add ½ and 1/3 and get 2/5, he says. Tutors explain, "One apple plus one apple is two apples. One banana plus one banana is two bananas. But one apple plus one banana isn't two banapples."
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