Friday, March 11, 2016

Using Local Statistics to Make Fraction Study Meaningful

Massachusetts' DESE stats are a good resource for infographic creation. 
The students have looked at and worked with many fraction models. Now I want to bring greater meaning to the study as we review the concepts they've studied so far. To do that I'll use local stats and if we have time we may be able to make an infographic.

The review will begin with a quick review of "clock fractions" as this leads to a great tool for making accurate circle graphs.

Next we'll review what it means to simplify a fraction. We'll use a fraction with a large numerator and denominator such as the number of children in our school vs. children in the entire school district. We'll talk about the ways we can simplify that fraction. Once simplified we'll discuss whether it's better to rely on the simplified fraction, actual fraction, or a benchmark fraction when we discuss this statistic.

Mixed Numbers
After that we'll review what a mixed number is. I'll find a relevant mixed number statistic and we'll discuss how we can change that mixed number into an "improper" fraction or a fraction greater than one.

Adding Fractions
Further we'll add a few fraction stats together. For example we may add the fraction of the school population that are first graders with the fraction of students that are second graders to find out what fraction of our school is made up of first and second graders. When we do this we'll note how we have to find a common denominator to add these fractions.

Subtracting Fractions
We'll look at subtraction too to see if what the difference is between the number of fourth grade students and fifth grade students.

Number Lines, Circle Graphs, Decimal Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
With each statistic, we'll chart our work on the number line, create a circle graph of the solution, and label the data with the important information. We'll also write the solutions as decimal fractions, decimals, and percents.

School Infographic: Data and Statistics View of Our School
While I feel an urgency to rush this unit given the time, I do think that we need a project to solidify the concepts. Hence the following week, students will work with partners on a fraction project which calls them to apply the knowledge they've learned to make one part of a school infographic--an infographic that we can hang up in the school to help all students understand our school with a data and statistics lens.