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A strong understanding of fractions is essential for student success in algebra and more advanced math courses, and the earlier this foundation is built the better. Unfortunately, many students in the U.S. struggle with basic fractions concepts and face increased challenges as the concepts get more complex.

To effectively close the gaps in students' fractions knowledge, K-3 teachers should begin fractions instruction using students' informal understandings of sharing and proportion as the basis for formal instruction of basic fraction concepts. They should also ensure that students understand fractions as numbers in the rational number system and have strong proportional reasoning that will support them in performing operations with fractions.

To learn more about the research underlying these practices, view the IES Practice Guide, Developing Effective Fractions Instruction for Kindergarten Through 8th Grade.