Fractions are among the most feared and misunderstood elements of the elementary and middle school curriculum, yet they form the basis of understanding that will continue through high school and beyond. Unfortunately, we often present models that do a poor job representing the concepts, use language that is vague and/or contradictory, and teach procedures that are incomplete or poorly understood. We can help our students understand fractions more thoughtfully and thoroughly by working with better models, developing deeper concepts with those models, and then teaching procedures that promote understanding. Using findings drawn from neuroscience, linguistics and cognitive science, we can help students develop an understanding of fractions that is flexible and comprehensive.

In this workshop, we will examine what what kinds of practices should be implemented to help clarify and deepen our our students' understanding of fractions. This includes:

  • You can add 1/2 + 1/3 and get 2/5. What question will this answer correctly?
  • Why are some ways of reading fractions are better than others? Why is saying "3 over 5" the worst?
  • The "pie model" of fractions is popular, but its also the most rigid and confusing; here's something better!
  • Why is the yellow pattern block not equal to 1?
  • If multiplication is repeated addition, how do we explain 1/2 x 2/3?

This full-day workshop (9 am - 3 pm) is specifically designed for educators who wish to enhance the quality of their instruction by learning about specific techniques centered around the teaching of fractions. It is especially suitable for math specialists who work with students of various ages.

Robert M. Berkman is in his 30th year teaching mathematics. He has taught in both private and public schools in New York City, and has worked with students from pre-kindergarten up to graduate school. His work has appeared in Teaching Children Mathematics and Mathematics in the Middle School, both published by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM.) He has given presentations at conferences sponsored by the NCTM and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), in addition to teaching graduate school courses at the Bank Street College of Education and New York University's Steinhardt School of Education. He is currently the director of Better Living Through Mathematics, an educational consortium that provides innovative and dynamic mathematics programs and materials for teachers, children and parents.

Note: There are no workshops scheduled at this time.

If you would like to sponsor this workshop at your school, please contact me at You can purchase the printed version of this workshop at my online store.




Click here to download a brochure.

Questions? Email Robert at or text/call 718 909 8343