The concept of fractions has been a difficult topic in education for years. Researchers at the AIMS Center for Math and Science Education turned to the research of Dr. Leslie Steffe at the University of Georgia to learn why. The difficulties with fractions lie in students being presented with numerical material prior to their construction of whole number. It became apparent through the work done by Les Steffe that the process of constructing whole number is far more sophisticated than adults may realize.
The goal of this team is to learn how children’s additive schemes lead to multiplicative schemes once a child is numerical and how those schemes relate and contribute to the development of children’s fractional knowledge. This work adds to our understanding of the continuum that Steffe has identified, but centers on a units coordination model.
Observing and recording students as they progress along a continuum from coordinating units additively to multiplicative coordinations and identifying specific indicators along the way will allow us to add to our video library of exemplars. These videos will be used to translate the research for classroom use. Teachers will not only hear and read about the research, but will actually see it played out. The information gained as a result of this project will be used to continue our pursuance of research that can address the difficulties in understanding the concept of fractions.