Thank you for your input. The method you described has a common name as the “Butterfly Method.” This is a procedure which can definitely produce a correct answer if the child follows the steps. But think about this problem: 2/3 + 1/6. With the butterfly method, students always have to multiply the denominators to get a common denominator, which can often become quite large. If using the butterfly method, with the above problem, students would get 15/18 and then have to simplify back to 5/6. However, the least common denominator is actually 6. So the new problem would be 4/6 + 1/6. When first teaching concepts about fractions, I want students to get a visual understanding of equivalent fractions via manipulatives such as pattern blocks, fraction strips, and pictures so they can see 2/3 = 4/6. This concrete and pictorial progression does a lot to build fraction concepts. If using the butterfly method, I would want students to be able to explain how that works. ]]>

To add and subtract fractions successfully is to make the rules stick to your memory.

Rules are:

Same denominator:

Add both numerators then reduce. The result would be the final answer.

Different denominator (4 steps):

1. Multiply the numerator of first fraction to the denominator of second fraction. The result is the new numerator of first fraction.

2. Multiply the numerator of the second fraction to the denominator of first fraction. The result is the new numerator of second fraction.

3. Multiply both denominators. The result is the common denominator for two fractions.

4. Add the two new numerators. The result is the answer.

To make it stick to your memory:

Same numerator:

Add two fractions 50 times.

Different denominator:

Add two fractions 100 times.

To check if your answer is right and your step by step solution is correct?

Use fraction calculator with button from http://www.fractioncalc.com. It is important that you follow the correct steps in adding unlike fraction. Unlike fractions are those fractions with different denominator.

The key here is to make the rules implanted into the minds of the students so that they will never forget.

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