Our Y5/6 children were waved off on their annual residential trip today, so as Y3/4 teacher I was left with the 2 children who weren't going along with their friends. Not a massive issue but potentially something of differentiation nightmare!
As I am fortunate enough to have a Teaching Student in my class, I took the 2 children off to do some 'age appropriate' work in another class. They had been learning to calculate with fractions, so we went back through the basics and then moved onto multiplication of one fraction by another. They knew how to do that and were able to explain the strategy and we made sure that we could (all, me included) explain the strategy using modeled diagrams and images. All good so far.
"What about division?", one child asked. I shivered a bit because fraction by fraction division is something I am quite sure I had never done. "I honestly don't know," I replied, "Let's see if we can work it out."
So we talked, drew, tried things out and eventually, we were pretty sure that we had a method that worked and one we couldn't really see fault in. It transpired that their class had been doing fraction division the day before and neither had felt they understood it. We had pieced together their knowledge, my guesses and alleged maths specialism and decided we needed some help to confirm our working.
Enter "Khan Academy". One video tutorial. The three of us were Hi-5-ing each other with excitement! We were absolutely right.
"I can't believe it is that straightforward!" said one of the children, "It can't be, but it is isn't it."
"I had no clue yesterday and now it seems so obvious!" said the other.
We did a selection of further examples and remained confident that we knew what we were doing, our answers and explanations matched.
"This seemed so hard before, no one in my group could do it," said the 1st child.
A quick tutorial in "Explain Everything" and both children have written and recorded their own short tutorials for their class mates on their return to help them have the Eureka! moment we had today.
All three of us left the room feeling like the guy in the header image. We now held power over the fractions.
Pencils, paper, thinking, collaboration and a little bit of well placed technology led to the children not only moving their own learning forwards, but mine and hopefully that of their classmates too.
The method: Flip (Reciprocal), Multiply, Simplify.
This absolutely made my day (and I suspect, probably theirs!)
Original Post: Summer 2016