
Mnemonic Tip: # 47
February 22, 2004 





This
morning, while working with an adult student, we made a mnemonic clue to
help her remember how to change mixed numbers into improper fractions.
This student has a number of challenges and difficulty remembering: 1)
the times tables, 2) the steps in arithmetic operations, 3) which
direction to complete operations, and 4) when to do what. She becomes
very frustrated because she can complete the operations of fractions
when she is prompted, and then, for that class or tutoring session, she
can remember what to do. However, later that day or the next day, she
does not remember what to do or how to begin. The following mnemonic
clue provides her with a way to remember how to change mixed number into
improper fractions. Additionally, she has learned how to use Tic Tac
Toe Math for reducing and changing fractions.
The
following are examples that demonstrate the student’s errors that cause
confusion. This operation involves changing 2 and ½ into five halves.
In the first example she would multiple the whole number with the
denominator and add the whole number with the numerator. In the second
example, she would add the whole number to both the numerator and the
denominator. These errors were not consistent; sometimes she was able
to complete the operation correctly. The inconsistence is what caused
her much frustration.



The Mnemonic Clue 


This
week’s mnemonic clue is a visual one that uses the location of the
numbers and symbols to provide the person with a way to remember how to
change mixed numbers into improper fractions. First, the person places
a multiplication sign between the whole number and the denominator,
remembering that multiplication produces larger number, making the
number heavy, therefore on the bottom. Next he or she places an
addition sign between the whole number and the numerator, remembering
that adding produces smaller numbers than multiplication, making the
number lighter, therefore, on top. The student then draws or visualizes
arrows as illustrated. After a while many students will able to
remember the operation without drawing the signs and arrows, but when,
in doubt, they can always draw them.






A number of
teachers and students have asked to have the Mnemonic Clue of the Week
sent to them each week. If you would like to receive this service, send
your email address to:
rcooperldr@comcast.net 




