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World of Tan 20 - Fractions

Age 7 to 11 Challenge Level:

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

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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!

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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 .