Shanty, N.O., Hartono, Y., Putri, R.I.I, de Haan, D. 2011. Design research on mathematics education: Investigating the progress of Indonesian fifth grade students’ learning on multiplication of fractions with natural number. Indonesian Mathematical Society Journal on Mathematics Education (IndoMS. J.M.E), 2.2, 147-162.
The difficulties of students in learning fractions, according to researches, is caused by two main factors. The first one due to teaching method which emphasizes only on technical procedures. As the consequence, the students see the algorithm as meaningless series of steps. Hence, they often forget the steps or might change the procedures with the incorrect ones. The problem is also called ‘algorithmatically based mistakes’. Another factor is the concept of the fraction itself which is NOT consistent with counting principles as it is in natural numbers.
In order to deal with the problems, remodeling mathematics by developing sequence of activities which are RME based seems to be appropriate. Here, we might design learning activities by combining 5 activity-levels in learning fraction (proposed by Streefland) with the 5 tenets of RME. In addition, the 4-level emergent modelling (by Gravemeijer) was also being concerned.
A design, covering the aforementioned needs, has been implemented by Shanty toward the 5th Grade students of SDN 179 Palembang. Here, the following, describes the activity she conducted and its effects to the students.
1. Producing Fractions
The activity employed contextual problems in order to stimulate students’ informal knowledge of partitioning, as meant to be a situational activity. The problem given was about ‘locating flags and water posts on the running route’ and delivered in form of story related to the celebration of Independence Day. In the story, two people were preparing running competition from PIM (Palembang Indah Mall) (A) to Palembang District Office (B). On the way from A to B, 8 flags and 6 water posts were installed, each of them with equal distance among its kinds. The students were, then, asked to locate and label the positions of the 8 flags and the 6 water posts in the provided running map.
The running route from PIM (A) to District Office (B)
Picture is available on https://www.google.co.id/maps