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Keywords:

  • content analysis;
  • fraction;
  • procedural knowledge;
  • conceptual knowledge;
  • fifth and sixth grade

This research examined the presentation of fractions in textbooks used by fifth and sixth graders in Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. The specific textbooks examined were My Pals Are Here! Maths (MPHM) in Singapore; Kung Hsung (KH) in Taiwan; and Mathematics in Context (MiC) in the USA. Results show the problems posed in MiC put more emphasis on real-life situations than KH textbooks in Taiwan and MPHM in Singapore. Designing materials that provide opportunities to connect mathematics content with applications in real life is consistent with recommendations from professional organizations. The activities in KH and MPHM tended to emphasize procedures, while the activities of MiC focused more on conceptual understanding and less on the development of procedures. An examination of the mathematics textbooks revealed that MPHM introduced and developed fractions the earliest among the three countries investigated and the content taught in MPHM was about one grade earlier than when the same content was experienced by students in KH and MiC.