Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Teaching challenge: Negatives in fractions 

I think that I'm going to make this a recurring feature of the blog as I encounter these little challenges in getting student understanding in place. I'm sure we all have students with these sorts of problems, but discovery of the problem is haphazard at best.

So the first challenge, I discovered today that students were a bit suspicious of the idea that -(1/3), (-1)/3 and 1/(-3) are the same number. Now I can (and have) told them this, but it would be even better for them to get a feel for it. Any thoughts on ways to convey this? Preferably visual ideas...

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