Category Archives: Data Management & Statistics

Critical Fraction Concepts for Understanding

Fractions are challenging for many people, children and adults alike.  Here are some of the critical understandings, or big ideas, for fractions.

  1. A fraction has a numerator and a denominator.  The denominator tells how many equal parts the whole is divided into and the numerator tells how many parts there are.    
  2. Fractions can mean different things:  part of a set, part of a region, as a measure, division & as a ratio.

types of fractions 2

types of fraction 1

Here is a sample of Kaitlynn’s explanation of what she knows about fractions.  She has explained them very well and used several different models to demonstrate her understanding.

Kaitlyn Fractions

3.  A fraction is not meaningful without knowing what the whole is (if you only see the numerals when comparing fractions you assume the whole is the same).

For example, in class one day I asked the students if they would rather have half of a chocolate bar or one forth of a chocolate bar.  Most students said half but a few knew I was up to something.

The forth came from this chocolate bar:


and the half came from this one:


4.  If fractions have the same denominator, the one with the greater numerator is greater.  The denominator tells the total number of equal parts in the whole, and the numerator tells the number of parts accounted for:

like denominators

4.  If fractions have the same numerator, the one with the greater denominator is less.  The denominator tells the total number of equal parts that the whole is divided into, and the numerator tells the number of parts accounted for.  The larger the denominator, the smaller the parts are:

unlike denominators

Here is Kally’s explanation of this principle:


6.  There are proper fractions, improper fractions or mixed numbers.  The numerator is larger than the denominator in improper fractions.  The mixed number has a whole number and a fraction.  See below.


7.  Fraction can have different names, these are called equivalent fractions:

equivalent fractions

These are the big ideas we have investigated so far.  There is more to come, stay posted.


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Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. day in the US.  We watched a short biography of him and then part of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  We will be applying our reading strategy asking questions to a print version of his speech on Thurday. 

Many students remembered when we talked about Rosa Parks.

Today in math we had our Data Management test.


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Math Test on Tuesday

We will have a math test on Tuesday to wrap up our Data Management unit.  All the students have a review package which we started today.  We will take up the review package on Monday and the class will have the opportunity to ask questions and clarify ideas.  The review package is mandatory homework.



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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Data Management & Statistics, Math


Taking Notes, Asking Questions – Mean & Data Analysis

Today we will be learning about the reading comprehension strategy “Asking Questions” or Questioning.  Good readers ask questions as they read.  When reading for information, good reader’s also take notes to help them clarify questions and remember the content.  Our class is learning the reading strategy asking questions at the same time as the writing skill, note taking.  Deciding what is important is an important skill and it depends on the reader/writer’s purpose.  Why am I reading this book or article?  If it’s for information for a project then I need to know what my topic is.   Our main purpose in this instance was to write a summary, so we need to focus on the main idea.  Our questions will be answered later when we are reading for different purposes.

Asking Questions

The students are reading an article from Time Magazine for Kids.  The article is about child labour and it starts with a story about a boy in Ecuador who works on a banana plantation.  Some of the students highlighted personal information about him.  We need to have the discussion, is that information the main idea of this article?  Since we are writing a summary we need to focus on main ideas. 

Here is a sample of a students’ annotations:



Next up, answering our questions and questioning the source of information for validity and bias.

Mme. Walton, Mme. Moar and I were having a debate about mean (average) the other day.  We were trying to figure out a real life situation, other than grades, where mean is useful (and we thought that it might not be that useful for grades, or genuine assessment).  We each came up with an idea and then decided, no, that’s not really useful.  Mme. Walton thought of the shoe store owner and inventory.  So my class and I put all our shoe sizes up on the board and found the mean which was 5.5.  I asked if we should order more sixe 5.5 shoes than any other size and we quickly decided no, we shouldn’t.  The useful average for ordering would be mode.  Hmmm.  What about grades.  If Mr. Date (our principal) came and asked me the mean for the last test we did, would it help him understand how my class is doing on the measurement strand?  Hmmm.  Not really.  So tonight the students are supposed to ask their parents for a situation in which they think the mean would be truly useful.  Mme.  Walton, Mme.  Moar and I decided it’s probably only useful for marketing, to mislead the public into buying a product or an idea.  What do you think?

In the meantime, the students are solving a crime using Data Analysis:

math task


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