The role of practical work in learning the division of fractions by grade 7 learners in two primary schools in Mpumalanga ward of Hammarsdale circuit in Kwazulu-Natal.
The researcher's personal conviction that major problems in the teaching of mathematics are inherited from elementary levels inspired the investigation of the contribution of practical work in the teaching of fraction division in grade seven. The all encompassing approach of the study dictated the involvement of teachers and learners as participants. Teachers' perceptions of practical work and their classroom practices were investigated to confirm or refute existing assumptions and literature claims. Questionnaires in which teachers expressed their views on practical work and fraction teaching were administered to teachers. Lessons on the division of fractions were observed to determine teachers' practices in relation to the researcher's assumptions and claims by literature. Data yielded by these research instruments confirmed or refuted assumptions and literature claims. Learners underwent an experiment and their views were sought to establish the value of practical work in the teaching of fractions and fraction division. Instruments used for the experiment were the pre-test, post-test and worksheets. Data from these instruments gave an indication of the value of practical work in enhancing learners' understanding of fraction division. Learners' responses to interview questions further elucidated and confirmed the valuable role played by practical work in learners ' understanding of fraction division. Learners' responses also provided deeper insight into facets of learners ' cognitive development as they engaged with different aspects of practical work in the division of fractions . Besides confirmation and refutation of some established assumptions and literature claims, previously unknown realities about aspects of practical work and fraction division also emerged from findings. This wealth of the data carried crucial implications for teacher training, the teaching of fractions and fraction division, and further research. A look at these implications hopes to contribute to the enhancement and improvement of the teaching of fractions and fraction division. Teacher training institutions, designers of INSET programmes, policy makers and teachers should all benefit from findings of this study.