Mathematical Misconceptions

There are many misconceptions in the understanding of mathematics which ultimately give rise to errors. Resources addressing eight of the most commonly found are included in this collection. Each resource contains an explanation of how the misconception arises so easily, together with some exercises aimed at reinforcing the correction needed. It is hoped that a study of the reason, together with practice of the exercises, will help to eliminate these errors.



Showing 8 result(s)

Dividing whole numbers by fractions

This resource, from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, uses diagrams to illustrate division by a fraction and, to clarify the common misconception identified with this task, prompts students to rethink the statement, divide three by one quarter, as the number of quarters that fit into three....

Multiplying decimals

This resource, from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, illustrates the common mistakes students make when multiplying two decimal values. It suggests that the language used could be adjusted so that the term times is interchanged with of, thus one-tenth of one-tenth is...

Rounding numbers

Students' misconceptions when rounding to the nearest 1000 is the focus of this resource from the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching. It illustrates how, when asked to round a value to the nearest 1000, some students mistakenly round to the nearest 10, then the nearest 100 and finally to the nearest 1000...

Multiplications can increase or decrease

This resource, provided by the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, explores why multiplication does not always increase the size of a number. It explains how, by putting the term multiplying into a context with which students can identify and making a situation meaningful, this common...


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