Story about Fraction Bars

Heartwarming and Motivating Story from the Past

The following is a reconstruction of a true story about an interaction at a parent, student, teacher conference. You can extrapolate the success that you may have as this teacher had students who tended to be classified as more difficult. How they responded from at least one teacher reaching out in a more fun way is interesting.

Parent (with expression of concern and displeasure): “My child says you are playing games in class!”

Teacher: “Yes, they are part of the cirriculum, the kids want to play and want to learn to play better!”

Parent: “I do not like the idea of games, they waste time. My children should be learning here. That is what they come to school for.”

Teacher: “Hmmm, well, lets see… Here, take two bars from this deck lay them face up and add the fractions.”

Parent: “OK.”

Child: “Seven Twelfths!”

Parent: “Hey, wait a sec, I didn’t even have time to write down the numbers yet.”

Teacher: “That’s what the games encourage…”

At the end of the conference, the parent said “I’m still not sure exactly what you’re doing (Teacher’s Name redacted) but it is getting results. Keep up the good work!”

By the way: Most kids who have played and worked with Fraction Bars for any length of time can quickly tell which possible pairs of two bars the parent drew from the deck of 49 bars. Can you? (6 correct answers possible.)


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