MathTappers: Fraction Estimation is designed to help learners to build their intuitive understanding of fractions by helping them to relate fractions (both symbols and pictures) to the nearest half (e.g., 0, ½ 1, 1½, 2, etc.) and then to extend their understanding by challenging them to use fraction estimates in addition and subtraction problems. Learners should be able to master the challenges in this app before moving on to formal operations with fractions. This app does not replace instruction or tutoring – but rather it supports such. We recommend that this app be used in conjunction with classroom or tutoring activities to support consolidation, mastery and fluency through a series of manageable challenges.
Fractions are in our everyday language and learners often develop a clear understanding of simple fractions (e.g., ½ or ¼) and simple problems using words and objects. If these fraction ideas, words and operations are sensible to your child – it is because they have learned them in context and have had an opportunity to make sense of them. Fraction symbols and operations may be difficult for learners to master because they often don’t have sufficient opportunities to work with and make sense of the fraction-symbol relationship and symbolic operations are often presented and mastered as rote ‘magical’ procedures without full understanding. If a child can’t estimate size of a fraction or the sum or difference of two fractions then they won’t be able to check the reasonableness of their answers and any mastery that they may appear to have attained will have a very shaky foundation.
The purpose of this app is to support learners as they are developing their understanding of fraction symbols by emphasizing sense-making through estimation and the use of visual models. Evidence suggests that if learners are taught formulas and procedures before they develop understanding, then they may not be motivated to spend the effort needed to make sense of what they are doing. We want to support sense-making before procedural mastery.
This app is not intended to be mastered in one shot – rather levels should be assigned judiciously to support classroom learning activities. After introducing each fraction idea (fraction estimation, and estimation of sums and differences) in a classroom presentation, explanation or discussion this app may be used in small group and individual activities to support exploration, sense-making, consolidation and remediation.
Design: Tim Pelton & Leslee Francis Pelton
Programming: Mike Anderson & Garrett Reimer
The designers of the MathTappers Apps are math educators and researchers seeking to create simple games that will help learners to make sense of mathematics one concept at a time. In each App we try to present at least one useful visual model to support learners as they strive to master the challenges presented. The regular version of each app is provided to users for free and is designed to be useful as-is. In addition, most MathTappers Apps offer an option to expand the feature set for a minimal fee. Revenues received from these upgrades will be used to support research on the educational utility of MathTappers Apps and further refinement and expansion of the MathTappers App collection.
Current MathTappers Apps include:
MathTappers: Clock Master – learn to tell time
MathTappers: Fraction Estimation – make sense of fraction sums and differences
MathTappers: Find Sums – learn basic facts for addition and subtraction
Please visit MathTappers.com to find helpful videos and learn more about our new and upcoming applications.
Play, Explore and Understand!