Students generally find that whole number adding and subtracting is much easier than multiplying and dividing, and assume that the same will be true for fraction operations. These flow charts make clear that the opposite is true: multiplication and division of fractions is MUCH simpler than adding and subtracting.
Practically speaking, I have found that these charts give me an overview and help ME break down the steps for teaching students who have difficulty with fractions. Students with AFP (acquired fraction phobia) find them a bit overwhelming, at least at first. They crystallize the processes and illuminate:
• the foundational knowledge that is necessary for conceptual understanding (necessary vocabulary appears in the upper right corner of each one)
• how learning how to find GCF (greatest common factor) makes simplifying fractions so much quicker
• why using LCM (least common multiple) is the best choice when finding common denominators
So, for teachers, linear thinker students and kids sharpening up hazy memories of fractions, here are flow charts for adding/subtracting and multiplying/dividing fractions. I have dreamed of something like this for years but couldn’t quite think that hard, so my daughter Katherine Plattner, who analyzes and visualizes extremely well, created them.
Susan, Morris Tutoring Productions