There is further literature available about using concrete materials.
As well as the BEI, the other education indexes are the AUEI (Australian Education Index) and ERIC (Education Resources Information Center). Your library may subscribe to these along with the BEI?
I searched with keyword concrete materials and subject term fractions and I have included a sample of articles. We always recommend you try your own searches though.
For full text journal articles you will need to check with your library who may be able to order them for you if they aren't already in stock.
Other articles come from CRME, Teachers TV and ATM.
I hope this helps.
Pictures as maths tools. Educating Young Children, Summer 2008, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 35-36, ISSN: 1323-823X. Baker-A.
"Maths picture books provide many problem-solving opportunities. The beauty of such books is that they engage students visually and fire their imagination. Although they are fiction, they provide situations that the students can project themselves into and engage with. There are many excellent maths picture books that inspire young children to mathematise and to represent their thinking through pictures and through materials. Before exploring these books and children's responses to them, the author raises a few 'contentious issues': concrete materials are often not the best tools for students to explore mathematical ideas; showing students what to do with tool and how to manipulate them assumes that they have the same structures and understandings in their heads as teachers do and often they do not; asking students to pretend that a block represents something creates a hurdle that excludes some students from engaging with a particular mathematical situation; showing or telling a student how to approach a problem and what materials to use is actually denying them the opportunity to think and plan for themselves; mathematics is a creative activity and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to it."
Decimals: addressing students' misconceptions. In 'Mathematics : across the ages : thirty- sixth Annual Conference, December 2nd & 3rd, 1999' edited by Nick Scott, David Tynan, Gary Asp, Helen Chick, John Dowsey, Barry McCrae, Janine McIntosh and Kaye Stacey, pages 46-54. Brunswick Vic : Mathematical Association of Victoria, 1999, ISBN: 1-8766-7760-0. Archer-S, Condon-C.
"Misconceptions about decimals are described based on data from an ongoing decimals research project conducted through the University of Melbourne. The prevalence, persistence and possible origins of misconceptions are discussed. A simple test is then given for diagnosing students' misconceptions. This is followed by an introduction to Linear Arithmetic Blocks (LAB), a concrete material specifically designed to challenge misconceptions. Directions for making and using the model in the classroom are given. A related website of games and activities is briefly reviewed."
Developing decimal sense. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 2006, vol. 11, no. 4, p. 25-28, ISSN: 1326-0286. Caswell-R.
"Despite the frequent use of decimals in everyday life, students still have difficulty transferring this knowledge to abstract mathematical situations in the classroom. This article describes a sequence of activities the author has found successful in helping middle years students develop a deeper understanding of decimal fractions and therefore assist with this transfer of understanding to real-life situations. The sequential approach begins with decimals and concrete materials, extends to hundredths and thousandths, the zero values and ordering values, finally linking decimals to real life, and making connections across different areas of mathematics such as common fractions, percentage, measurement conversions, reading scales and using money values."
Fractions from Concrete to Abstract Using "Playdough Mathematics". Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 2007, vol. 12, no. 2, p. 14-17, pp. 4, 3 refs., ISSN: 1326-0286. Caswell-Rosemaree.
"In the middle years of primary schooling, the teaching of common fractions frequently involves written activities that use abstract representations of numbers, symbols, and images. Many students, however, still need the benefit of concrete materials and sensory motor experiences to enhance their understanding of the concepts associated with common fractions. The author's experiences with "playdough maths" provide evidence of effectively engaging learners in building bridges from concrete to abstract understanding in mathematics. This article presents some simple ideas for engaging students in working with common fractions and moving their understanding from concrete to abstract with ease and enjoyment. Common fractions are usually introduced in the early years of learning and associated with concrete materials. In the following years, students are often expected to work with numerical values or visual drawings of fractions. (Contains 8 figures.)"
Collaborative Group for Research in Mathematics Education
Strategies for classroom teachers: A lesson from Mathematics Intervention
Tiles and Tiling
KS2 Numeracy - Just a Fraction