Colabs Project

Fractions tool set


This is an open authoring environment for building and discovering essential concepts and relations in mathematics for 8 to 12 years old children. It is our attempt to build a kind of new culture in modern tangible mathematics education by providing teachers and children with highly interactive sets of visual building blocks which can be combined and explored by a group of children standing in front of a common learning space – for example an interactive white board or a screen of a computer. We believe that it is a powerful new tool for teachers, which will provide many new learning opportunities through its visual representation of fractional relationships.

The Visual Fractions environment has been written in Imagine. To profit from the innovative functionality and features of this platform we decided to develop Visual Fractions microworld as an open authoring environment for building and discovering essential concepts and relations in the area of fractions.

Visual Fractions offers several different representations of fractions and relations between them. The environment allows children to combine these visual tangible objects and thus model and explore dependecies between fractions. Thus, each object can play two roles – being either a kind of independent fraction (an input value) or depending on another fraction object or operation – being an alterantive representation of a fraction or being a result of an operation, a visualization of a value on the number line etc. We believe that the Visual Fractions environ­ment thus offers new approach to modern mathematics education built on collaboration and exploration.

Technically, the output of our development is an Imagine project file (IMP file). It can be run within the Imagine platform, commercially distributed by different bodies in different countries (and thus, in different languages). Each partner of the CoLabs project has full access to his/her national version of Imagine and within the project has produced a localization of the Visual Fractions environment (microworld, although too far from being “micro”). English version of Imagine is distributed in UK by Logotron and can be obtained from

On December 1, 2004 we ran one of several Visual Fractions experiments with a group of children. We were impressed how quickly and easily they understood the interface and rules of the environment. The mathematics teacher who was present then is now using the trial Slovak version of the environment with her class.

Further Slovak projects