Thursday, November 5, 2009

Putting Fractions in Order from Least to Greatest

This is an awesome idea that you won't see in any textbook for putting fractions in order from least to greatest. While teaching students to compare fractions by finding common denominators to put the fractions in order, one of my former students came up with the following discovery. His creative idea blew me away, and I have enjoyed sharing his method for ordering fractions with classes ever since!
Let's say that you are given some fractions such as 7/1, 2/3, 1/5, -1/2, 3/8, and you are asked to put them in order. My former student discovered that if you graphed the fractions on a coordinate grid with the numerator as the "x" value and the denominator as the "y" value, you would automatically get fractions into the correct order! Draw a line from the origin to the ordered pair (fraction), start reading your graph from the left to the right, and you have your fractions in the correct order from least to greatest: -1/2, 1/5, 3/8, 2/3, 7/1!
Thanks Aaron for sharing your wonderful ideas. Students like you make teaching fun and rewarding!

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