U.S. and Korean teachers' use of concrete manipulatives to teach fractions

Fraction concepts are notoriously difficult for children to grasp and thus, much effort has been spent examining the effective instructional strategies. Many studies suggest that instructional practices in elementary mathematics should emphasize the use of manipulative materials to solidify children’s conceptual understanding. The purpose of the present study was to examine the similarities and differences in the way 3rd grade fraction concepts are taught in U.S. and Korean classrooms. Specifically, this study will compare Korean teacher’s lesson plans with U.S. teacher’s lesson plans. It was hypothesized that (a) Korean teachers will use more varying modes of representations (i.e., concrete and pictorial representations) than U.S. teachers, (b) more of the Korean lesson plans will include the use of both discrete and continuous items, compared to U.S. lesson plans, and (c) Korean teachers will be more consistent in applying the CPA instructional approach in their lesson plans, compared to U.S. teachers.