Aha!….Converting Improper Fractions to Mixed Numbers
While reviewing fractions for the 4th Math LEAP test last week I had an aha moment. I was drawing the model for a mixed number and I realized that I had not really focused on converting improper fractions to mixed numbers. Well, I continued with my mixed number review but I sat there talking to talking to a student about how to convert an improper fraction to a mixed number. While I was talking to her I was thinking that I cannot teach all of my students to use division to convert the improper fraction. So, I looked at the improper fraction and all of sudden it popped into my head, DECOMPOSE the fraction! I wrote the fraction 7/3 and then began to decompose it into 3/3 + 3/3+ 1/3 = 2 and 1/3. I was so thrilled that it worked but I wasn’t convinced that it would all of the time.
After dismissal I went to the 5th grade math teacher’s classroom and showed her what I had discovered. I asked her does this work all of the time? She walked over to an anchor chart on her wall an pointed to a strategy at the bottom. She said that it was one of the strategies in 5th grade for converting improper fractions to mixed number and a vice versa. I was so pleased to know that it worked all of the time for mixed number and improper fractions because my students who were not proficient with division had a method that they could use to covert improper fractions to mixed numbers.
The next day I first introduced this method of converting a mixed number to an improper fraction because I figured the whole number is easier to decompose. Then I began to show the students how to decompose the improper fraction to a mixed number. They really understood how to decompose the improper fraction and find the fraction to add to the whole to create the mixed number. I was so excited because this showed me that my students’ level of thinking had increased and their understanding of fractions for the most part was solid! Try my newest product converting improper fractions to mixed numbers using the tape diagram today!