Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fractions, Fractions Everywhere

Fractions are important.  

Ooooo...I like this...what an introduction for great problem solving.  "Six moms are shopping at Target and their children smell the popcorn.  If the popcorn costs 75 cents (I don't think Target popcorn costs 75 cents, but humor me) and the moms, of course, have no cash except for spare change at the bottom of their purses and the children will only be pacified with popcorn, how much does each mom have to pay?"
 In fact, as a math teacher, I will go so far as to say...fractions are a vital, foundational concept in mathematics.  If my goal was total mathematical world domination, the educational world, mind you, I would mandate that fractions be taught for an entire year.  Only Fractions. For an Entire Year.  At about the 3rd grade level.  Students need a deep understand of fractions and we're getting started over here in a very basic way.

Eli doesn't like to get dressed.  I guess I can't blame him...hanging out in your pajamas all day is pretty fun.  Last week, Eli had already put on his dedicates (by this I mean underwear, but I wasn't sure I could say "my kid was in his underwear" on a blog).  This is always the stopping point:  in his dedicates staring at the shirt and shorts before him.  Then it hit me.  After almost five years of dressing children, I knew what to say:

"Eli, you are already one-third done getting dressed."

He must be a mathematician like his mom, because he loved this.  I went on to explain, "Look, you have three pieces of clothing to put on and you already have one on.  This means that you are one-third done."    He quickly and happily put on his shorts..."Wow!  You are two-thirds done!  That means you are almost finished."  And the shorts..."Eli, you did it!  You are three-thirds done.  What does that mean?  Yup.  You are finished."

We have been dressing with fractions ever since.  Let me say, it is so hot right now that we need a smaller denominator.  To that end, I am pretty thankful that we don't have a denominator of, say, 7 or 8.  That's a winter denominator, my friends.

My kids also don't like having sunscreen put on.  Enter...fractions.

Oh how I love our swim shirts as it reduces our sunscreen denominator by one.  One head, two arms, and two legs.  We count along as each part gets greased done, two-fifths done, and so on. 

Now, these ideas are definitely not rocket science, but, I do think they are a great foundation for one day DOING rocket science.  In closing, I do have to admit, that total mathematical world (the educational one) domination might be a tiny, tiny thought in the back of my head.  I guess I will start by surrounding my kids with least, eight-elevenths of the time.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Sarah! Yes, fractions are quite important. One of the major things I took away from math classes that I use just about every day.

    I love swimshirts, too! O's bathing suit is also one of those surfer-type body suits. Must. Not. Burn!