Amy J. Hackenberga and Erik S. Tillema have written an article entitled Students’ whole number multiplicative concepts: A critical constructive resource for fraction composition schemes. The article was published online in The Journal of Mathematical Behavior on Thursday. Here is the abstract of their article:
This article reports on the activity of two pairs of sixth grade students who participated in an 8-month teaching experiment that investigated the students’ construction of fraction composition schemes. A fraction composition scheme consists of the operations and concepts used to determine, for example, the size of 1/3 of 1/5 of a whole in relation to the whole. Students’ whole number multiplicative concepts were found to be critical constructive resources for students’ fraction composition schemes. Specifically, the interiorization of two levels of units, a particular multiplicative concept, was found to be necessary for the construction of a unit fraction composition scheme, while the interiorization of three levels of units was necessary for the construction of a general fraction composition scheme. These findings contribute to previous research on students’ construction of fraction multiplication that has emphasized partitioning and conceptualizing quantitative units. Implications of the findings for teaching are considered.
Hackenberg, A. J., & Tillema, E. S. (n.d.). Students' whole number multiplicative concepts: A critical constructive resource for fraction composition schemes. The Journal of Mathematical Behavior, In Press, Corrected Proof. doi: 10.1016/j.jmathb.2009.04.004.