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    Procedural vs. Conceptual
    By Tatha

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    I teach 5th grade as well. I think you need to allow your students to explore a variety of approaches, starting with a conceptual approach. Have you tried drawing/using visual models of different fraction amounts when comparing? In my opinion, students should not solely be taught a procedure and expected to memorize steps and/or any "short cuts", like cross multiplying, without first having a good understanding of the actual concept or skill. There will be those students who prefer a procedural approach and will do well with it, but we shouldn't expect all students to use one method. We need to show kids a variety of "tools" or methods they can use when approaching a problem. Then we can guide towards evaluating different methods and reasoning why one method may be a "better" method (more time-efficient, etc) for solving a problem.

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