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World of Tan 27 - Sharing

Age 7 to 11
Challenge Level

This activity follows on from World of Tan 26 - Old Chestnut.

As usual, Little Fung and Little Ming are arguing. Today the argument is about schoolwork...

Little Fung: I'm telling you, it's about numbers!

Little Ming: No, it's about sharing things out!

Little Fung: Numbers!

Little Ming: Sharing!

Little Fung: NUMBERS!

Little Ming: Look, it's about having equal amounts. We've been shown that it's about sharing things out fairly.

Little Fung: My teacher showed us it was all about numbers. She put them on a number line.

Little Ming: Oh, this is hopeless. I'm going into the yard to find someone sensible to talk to.

Little Fung: Good luck finding anyone! They're ALL in a meeting to talk about getting a bigger van and making alterations to the yard to allow the van in.

Little Ming: I'll see if they've finished. They've helped us with fractions before - I just hope they won't confuse us even more.

The children enter the office and find everyone - Granma T, Mah Ling, Chi Wing, Wai Ping and Wu Ming - sitting round the table enjoying cups of tea. The meeting appears to have finished, and what better time to interrupt!

Little Fung: Can you settle an argument? We can't agree about fractions.

Wu Ming: Fractions! Don't you learn about those at school?

Little Ming: That's right. So what do you remember from school?

Little Fung: You must all use them here when you're working... so what are fractions?

Wai Ping: I never use them! I can't help you, sorry.

Chi Wing: Let me ask both of you a question. Six lots of what makes two?

There is a short pause and everyone looks blankly at each other - all except one person.

Little Fung: It's a third - one over three. If you put six lots of a third together, it makes two wholes.

Chi Wing: Now that's what fractions are! 

Little Ming: Hang on, isn't fractions like sharing six crackers out between three people and everybody getting two each?

Wu Ming: He's right - finding a third of something is the same as dividing by 3! 

Wai Ping: I've just remembered something about fractions! Does anyone else remember that riddle? Half of a half of a half of a half of a half is what?

Mah Ling: Almost nothing. Now let's get back to our meeting - out you go, children.

Granma T: Yes, out you go. We have to decide what will happen when we buy a van that is half as big again...

In the meantime, complete the silhouette of Little Fung at the table asking about fractions.

Extra activities:

  • What do you think fractions mean? What have you learnt about fractions at school? Write down all the different things that you can remember about fractions.
  • What does 'half as big again' mean for the size of the van? Can you draw a line and make it half as big again? Draw a shape on squared paper and try making that shape half as big again.

The story continues in World of Tan 28 - Concentrating on Coordinates.