Fractions: How to help kids master them ...
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How would like half and apple? If you have a brother or sister, or your mother, and you only have
one apple, you can cut it in half and you each get half. Or if there are four of you, you can cut each half in
half, and then you each get one quarter of an apple.
Fractions look complicated but they really aren't. And if you can think of fractions as a way of
sharing then fractions can become really easy.
It gets complicated when you start looking at numbers because a half of an apple is ½ and a fourth
of an apple is ¼. And what happens to people working with fractions is they start to look at the numbers and get
confused when all they really want is to share some apple, right?
Okay, let's talk about sharing a pie ...
Usually a pie is cut into 6 pieces. So a piece of pie is one sixth of a pie or 1/6 of a pie. If you
like really, really BIG pieces of pie you can cut a pie in half (½) and then cut each half in half again (½ of ½)
and count the total number of pieces, then you see that there are 4 pieces of pie and each piece is ¼ of that pie.
If half of a pie is cut into three pieces, and you count all the pieces of pie, you have 6 pieces of pie and each
piece is 1/6 of that pie.
How about doing this with a dollar? A quarter is ¼ of one dollar, that's why it's called a quarter
because it's a quarter of a dollar. Four quarters (4 x ¼) equals one dollar. Or 4 x ¼ = 1. Each dollar is 100
pennies and each quarter is 25 pennies. A nickel is 5 pennies and it takes 20 nickels to make a dollar. 20 times 5
is 100. A nickel then is 1/20 of a dollar. And a penny is 1/100th of a dollar.
The main purpose of fractions is to figure out how to share.
So if you want to share with your brother or your mother halves and you have one hundred pennies,
you can count out, "one for you and one for me." and when you are done you will each have 50 pennies. One half of
one dollar is fifty cents. Or ½ of 100 equals 50. Or 100 divided by 2 equals 50.
Fractions are fun and simple if you just remember that fractions are a tool to help people share
For the same dollar if you had 4 quarters you would give each person 2 quarters and you would still
have 50 cents. 2x25=50.
Fractions can get more complicated, like anything. But if you remember that the goal is to share,
then fractions are a fun math tool to help divide up, an apple, a pie or a dollar.
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