Fractions as Lengths

Session presented at Math in Action annual conference February 22, 2014 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.

Download session slides here.

The main take-away from the session was that: If students are going to understand the number line in rich and meaningful ways, they should understand how numbers represent accumulated quantities of lengths. To support our participants in their understanding and future teaching, we created opportunities for them to explore connections between fraction operations and fraction representations using a length model.

Connections between measurement models and fraction operations


We reminded teachers that often an area model is used to represent fractions and fraction operations. We also brought an example of a word problem that connected fraction operations to a length model (as represented by lengths of string).

We asked participants to represent fractions as numbers, and then operations on fractions, using sentence strips (as a length model).

Stehr, E.M., Gilbertson, N., & Clark, D. (2014, February) Fractions as Lengths. Paper presented at the Math in Action Conference, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI.


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