Have you ever wondered…
- Why is teaching fractions difficult?
- How do children think about fractions, and how is their thinking different than adults’ thinking?
- How can being responsive to children’s thinking during instruction help teachers be more effective?
- What types of support do teachers need to learn how to be responsive to children’s thinking during instruction?
RTEM (Responsive Teaching in Elementary Mathematics) is a four-year research project that addresses these questions by investigating the development of teaching that is responsive to children’s thinking about fractions in grades 3–5.
RTEM is a collaboration among The University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Texas at Austin, SRI International, and Teachers Development Group.
RTEM is funded by the National Science Foundation (DRL–1316653) but the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the supporting agency.
- Krause, G., Empson, S., & Jacobs, V. (2017, October). Teachers’ number choices for equal sharing problems. Poster presentation at the 2017 annual meeting of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Indianapolis, IN.
- Hewitt, A., Jessup, N., & Jacobs, V. (2017, November). Exploring new uses for fraction equations. Presentation at the 2017 annual meeting of the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Greensboro, NC.
- Empson, S., Jacobs, V., Case, J., & Brown, D. (2018, April). Supporting the development of teachers’ expertise in noticing children’s mathematical thinking. Presentation at the 2018 annual meeting of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, Washington, DC.
- Jacobs, V., Empson, S., Brown, D., & Case, J. (2018, April). Integrating interactive experiences with children into professional development. Presentation at the 2018 annual meeting of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, Washington, DC.
Ryan’s Thinking About Fractions
Meet Ryan, grade 5, who is solving this problem:
There are 5 pizzas for 8 kids to share equally. How much pizza could each kid get?
What do you notice?
- What did we learn about Ryan’s understanding of fractions?
- What teacher moves allowed us to learn about his understanding? (What would we have missed if the teacher had stopped after the correct answer?)
- How did the teacher support and extend Ryan’s thinking (vs. imposing her own thinking)?