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Wyberg,Terry; Whitney, Stephanie R.; Cramer, Kathleen A.; Monson, Debra S.; & Leavitt, Seth. (2011, December) Unfolding Fraction Multiplication Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School. 17(5)5, 288-294.


Unfolding Fraction Multiplication

Terry Wyberg, Stephanie R. Whitney, Kathleen A Cramer,
Debra S. Monson and Seth Leavitt


This article addressed 4 questions: what do we want students to understand in terms of fraction multiplication? What models build meaning for fraction multiplication? How should the models be sequenced? What role should the algorithm play in students’ understanding of fraction multiplication? We addressed these questions within a RNP research and curriculum development grant. We share with you our insights into teaching fraction multiplication, with a specific emphasis on the impact that two different models—using a number line and folding paper—had on students’ understanding and how we sequenced these models for instruction.


Cramer, Kathleen, Terry Wyberg, and Seth Leavitt. 2008. “The Role of Representations in Fraction Addition and Subtraction.” Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 13 (April): 490–96.

English, Lyn D. 1997. Analogs, Metaphors, and Images. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kieren, Thomas. 1980. “The Rational Number Construct: Its Elements and Mechanisms.” In Recent Research on Number Learning, edited by Thomas Kieran, pp. 125-49. Columbus: OH: ERIC/SMEAC.


Terry Wyberg teaches at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.

Stephanie R. Whitney, a doctoral candidate in mathematics education at the University of Minnesota, works on the Rational Number Project.

Kathleen A. Cramer is Wyberg’s colleague at the University of Minnesota. Cramer’s and Wyberg’s research interests focus on the teaching and learning of rational numbers.

Debra S. Monson is an assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. Her research interests include teacher beliefs.

Seth Leavitt teaches at Field Middle School in Minneapolis. He is interested in improving math instruction in kindergarten through high school.