Fractions from a really important part of the 11 plus exam. In schools across Birmingham, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, primary teachers work hard to improve children’s knowledge in this tricky area of maths. They are really important with lots of applications for careers that we dream of for our children. From science to engineering and health to economics, fractions help portray numbers in an easy to understand way. So let’s take a dive into how we can help children to understand fractions.
Why are fractions confusing?
There have been several studies on the subject of what makes fractions so confusing. This study by the University of Cambridge showed that when looking at fractions, you have to understand that both the number and denominator have a value but also that when looked at together they show a different value. The big confusion for many children, however, is that fractions look like whole numbers but actually often have a value of less than one (well until things get really complicated!).
Fractions aren’t as easy as whole numbers. It’s easy to see that 2 is bigger than 1, and that 5.5 is bigger than 5.3. Fractions don’t make things as easy. Looking at it through an uninitiated child’s eyes, 1/2 is bigger than 1/4 even though 2 is a smaller number that 4.
How can we help children with fractions?
One of the best ways to teach children about fractions is by using visual aids. Everyone knows that one pizza is one pizza. But as soon as we starting cutting up the pizza, it becomes a maths problem!
Using relevant imagery that children can visualise can really help them understand the concept of fractions, and in particular, comparing fractions of different sizes. For example, they have a good point of reference in the number of children in a class. If one class has 8 children and another has 10, then dividing these classes up into various groups becomes a great maths problem.
11 Plus Fractions
Fractions are important in the 11 Plus. Numerical reasoning often takes the form of a problem to be decoded from a variety of different types of mathematics. That’s why it’s really important to get them polished early on.
At Smart 11+ Tuition, we teach children at our centres in Harborne, Solihull and Sutton Coldfield as part of our regular curriculum. Want to find out more? Complete the form below: