The impact of the teacher's questions on the learning of part-whole relations and a benchmark model in fractions
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The focus of this case study was to explore how my questions as a teacher impacted my students‟ construction of part-whole relations and their use of a benchmark model in learning fractions. The research conducted in my classroom comprised of 12 Gr. 4 students and 12 Gr. 5 students. There were 13 boys and 11 girls. A pre-test, instruction and post-test sequence was used. The teaching unit was developed to assist the students in building a benchmark model for comparing and ordering fractions and to develop an understanding that a fraction is a relationship between its parts and the whole. A math class consisted of a small mini-lesson, which focused the students‟ thinking, a contextual problem that they solved in pairs, and a congress in which the strategies and solutions were debriefed and discussed. At the beginning of the unit most, but not all, of my students struggled with these concepts, but by the end of the unit most were comfortably using the benchmark model and had a very good understanding that a fraction was a relationship between its parts and the whole.