Examining the Influence of Number Line Fraction Task Characteristics on Student Work

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Hatch, Sharlee
mathematics; education; fractions; tasks; number line; Curriculum and Instruction; Science and Mathematics Education
thesis / dissertation description
Research supports the claim that classrooms with teachers who respond to student thinking in the mathematics classroom will see greater student gains and student success (Lamon, 1996; Sleep & Boerst, 2012). The topic of fractions is both difficult to teach and learn, but has important implications on future success in mathematics and in life. This study set out to explore the ways in which student work is influenced by characteristics of number line fraction tasks. By examining task type, number line structure, and number choice this study shares the way these task characteristics influenced student strategies. The relationship between task characteristic and student work is examined qualitatively; in addition to how well each task characteristic uncovers three key conceptual understanding fraction ideas: partitioning, iterating, and unitizing. Additionally, this study looks at which task characteristics better highlight informal or intuitive understanding of these key ideas and in what ways. The findings can be used to inform the selection of fraction tasks for the classroom.