This activity follows on from World of Tan 19 - Working Men .

Little Ming and Little Fung have homework to do before being allowed out into the yard to help the workmen.

Little Ming: Mai Ling, why have fractions been invented? Why are they so complicated to work out?

Little Fung: I am sure it is not just us that can't fathom out how to use fractions

LM: Are decimals just as bad?

LF: All this turn upside and multiply.. just what does it all mean?

LM: Anyway, what are common denominators?

LF: Yes, answer that! By the way what are equivalent fractions?

LM: All I can remember is that - what you do to the top you must do to the bottom.

Mai Ling: NO! Numerators and denominators - you must know what they are?

LM: I have been told but it is somewhat hazy - denominator er, er, the bottom number right?

ML: Yes.

LF: Hence, top number is the numerator.

ML: Now if you multiply or divide the top number by another number you must do the same to the denominator.

LM: Does it matter if you do it to the bottom number first?

LF: Does that apply to adding and taking a number from the numerator or denominator?

ML: NO! NO! NO! You pair sound so confused and are confusing me.

LM: Perhaps we should start again at the very beginning.

LF: What are fractions?

LM: Go on, answer that Mai Ling.

ML: They are part of a whole.

LM: Erm...

ML: If something is divided into equal parts, one or more of these parts are called fractions.

LF: You mean like a half or two thirds or three twentyfifths

ML: Yes now that is one type of fraction!

LM: Oh no you mean there are more types...

ML: There are vulgar fractions, proper fraction, improper fractions, top heavy fractions, compound fractions......

LM: You are teasing us. Be serious.

ML: No, I am not, and you need to be able to work with them all.

LF: But not this afternoon, when we should be out in sun helping in the yard.

ML: Ask Chi Wing about fractions - he might be able to tell you how fractions can be written as decimals or ratios.

LM: No, no I have had enough for today....

ML: Or ask Granma T. She might tell you about numbers less than...

LF: No, NO. Sorry. I have had enough for today.

LM: Me too Mai Ling, let's finish this tomorrow when we have no school and our heads aren't buzzing!

In the meantime, complete the silhouettes of two of the chairs used and Granma T's. There are further activities in the notes , and the story continues in World of Tan 21 - Almost There Now .