More Updates to the Amazing Fraction Calculator!
I've received so much positive feedback on the fraction calculator and I really appreciate everyone who's taken the time to pass along comments and suggestions! If you haven't had a chance to play with it, please check out the new and improved version!
One thought that came up from users repeatedly was the way the previews represented mixed fractions was a little unintuitive given that the whole part of the fraction was always shown as a numeric value but the fraction had the pie-chart representation. And the concepts didn't related particularly well to the multiplication and division operations.
To make the preview a little more useful in an instructional setting, I've updated it now. In general, small mixed fractions will be shown entirely as pies, with the wholes being shown as one or more complete pies divided by the numerator. If there are more than five wholes, the calculator's representation reverts back to it's numeric mixed fraction form.
What this accomplishes for addition and subtraction calculations is to make the representation totally visual, which is much closer to the vision I had in creating this thing.
Now multiplication and division are slightly different beasts, and in the context of the fraction calculator trying to show a meaningful visualization of how the operands translate into the product or quotient, my friend Maria Miller suggested that the right approach was really to express the multiplicands as a visualization times a number (or the dividend divided by a numeric divisor representation for division) since these operations didn't lend themselves immediately towards the sort of counted forms that addition and subtraction do. If you think about it, this makes sense because these operations are more about repeated operations (multiples of or divisions into) a value, and the visualization of two separate fractions could almost be misleading. Either way try it out with a whole multiplicand or a whole divisor and I think you'll find the preview is conceptually at least much better.
I still have plans to add steps the calculator is taking to generate the solutions, so for example a break down of how common denominators are determined or how the final mixed fraction might be reduced. It's definitely a work in progress, but even now I think you'll agree the calculator is already one of the best fraction teaching tools online!