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The number line: Young children's knowledge of fractions and whole numbers

Christopher R Poirier, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students' knowledge of fractions and whole numbers was tested using a number line consisting of whole circles. After a brief training session, students placed displays consisting of circles and pieces of circles on a number line. Kindergarten students did not complete the task correctly. First and second grade students performed better than kindergarten students; however, their performance was related to the training procedure they received. Training with a number line consisting of fractional quantities increased first and second grade students' performance. The findings fail to support the belief that elementary students treat fractions as whole numbers. Instead, the findings provide tentative evidence that task related issues, such as the type of number line used during training, may underlie students' performance on similar number line tasks.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Poirier, Christopher R, "The number line: Young children's knowledge of fractions and whole numbers" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3152735.