LF: I tell you, it is about numbers!
LM: No, it is about sharing things out!
LM: It is about having equal amounts.
LF: My teacher showed us it was all about numbers. On what she calls a number line.
LM: But we have been shown that it is about sharing things out fairly.
LF: NUMBERS, NUMBERS, dear brother
LM: Oh, this is hopeless .I am going into the yard to find someone sensible to talk to.
LF: That is, if you can find them! They are ALL in a meeting to talk about getting a bigger van and the alterations needed in the yard to allow the van in.
LM: Oh yes, but they will know all about fractions. Didn't they help us once before?
LF: Yes, we could settle this nonsense once and for all. Where you get your ideas from is a mystery to me.
LM: I am not as bad as you..anyway they could confuse us further.
The children enter the office and find everyone - Granma T, Mai Ling, Chi Wing, Wai Ping and Wah Mung sitting round the table enjoying cups of tea. The business appears to have finished and what better time to interrupt!
LF: Can you settle an argument?
CW: Umm, that will make a change
LM: No we can't agree about fractions.
WM: Fractions! - but don't you do those at school?
LF: Yes. So what do you remember from school?
GT: That might not be so easy for us older ones - Little Fung
LM: Oh stop teasing. you must remember what you learnt at school!
LF: And anyway you all must use them here when working.. so what are fractions?
WP: Never use them! Never needed to. Cannot help you.
CW: Let me ask both of you a question. What do you multiply 6 by to get 2?
A short pause and everyone looking blank except one
LF: A third - one over three.
CW: Now that is a fraction!
LM: But surely that is like sharing six crackers out between 3 people and everybody getting two apiece!
WM: To take a third of something is the same as dividing by 3!
GT: But a fraction is also a ratio! What is the ratio of males to females here in this room?
LM (counting): 3 females; 4 men.
GT: The fraction ¾ expresses a relationship between those two quantities
LF: Three sevenths of us are female and four sevenths are male..
WM: I do remember at school having to turn things upside down to multiply - now what is all that to do with fractions?
WP: Eh, remember that riddle? Half of a half of a half of a half of a half is what?
ML: Almost nothing. Now let us get back to the business in hand - out you children go ....
GT: Yes out you go we have to decide what are the implications of having a van that is half as big again....
In the meantime, complete the silhouette of Little Fung at the table asking about fractions.
There are more activities in the notes . The story continues in World of Tan 28 - Concentrating on Coordinates .