Students often have difficulties making connections between rational number concepts and their relationships to other mathematical applications and real world situations (Johanning, 2008). Researchers have advocated that students should experience using rational numbers with multiple and varied models integrated into context (Empson & Levi, 2011). In this article, we discuss a lesson that drew upon probabilistic reasoning as a means to help students connect rational number reasoning to real world situations. Probabilistic situations act as an extension to rational numbers in that they often involve fractional models and encourage students to reason through topics, such as part to whole relationships and fractional equivalence. Even though probabilistic reasoning is often clouded with misconceptions, it involves the ability to integrate rational number reasoning into a context with discussion and justification rooted in rational number thinking (Jones et al., 1997).
From Wisconsin Teacher of Mathematics, Fall 2015, 66(1); posted with permission by the Wisconsin Mathematics Council.