According to Plutarch, the Greeks found all the rectangles with integer sides, whose areas are equal to their perimeters. Can you find them? What rectangular boxes, with integer sides, have. . . .
The large rectangle is divided into a series of smaller quadrilaterals and triangles. Can you untangle what fractional part is represented by each of the ten numbered shapes?
At the beginning of the night three poker players; Alan, Bernie and Craig had money in the ratios 7 : 6 : 5. At the end of the night the ratio was 6 : 5 : 4. One of them won $1 200. What were the. . . .
Imagine you were given the chance to win some money... and imagine you had nothing to lose...
At the corner of the cube circular arcs are drawn and the area enclosed shaded. What fraction of the surface area of the cube is shaded? Try working out the answer without recourse to pencil and. . . .
The Pythagoreans noticed that nice simple ratios of string length made nice sounds together.
What fractions of the largest circle are the two shaded regions?
Using an understanding that 1:2 and 2:3 were good ratios, start with a length and keep reducing it to 2/3 of itself. Each time that took the length under 1/2 they doubled it to get back within range.
Consider the equation 1/a + 1/b + 1/c = 1 where a, b and c are natural numbers and 0 < a < b < c. Prove that there is only one set of values which satisfy this equation.
In a race the odds are: 2 to 1 against the rhinoceros winning and 3 to 2 against the hippopotamus winning. What are the odds against the elephant winning if the race is fair?
Anne completes a circuit around a circular track in 40 seconds. Brenda runs in the opposite direction and meets Anne every 15 seconds. How long does it take Brenda to run around the track?
The scale on a piano does something clever : the ratio (interval) between any adjacent points on the scale is equal. If you play any note, twelve points higher will be exactly an octave on.
A jigsaw where pieces only go together if the fractions are equivalent.
Can you predict, without drawing, what the perimeter of the next shape in this pattern will be if we continue drawing them in the same way?
Mike and Monisha meet at the race track, which is 400m round. Just to make a point, Mike runs anticlockwise whilst Monisha runs clockwise. Where will they meet on their way around and will they ever. . . .
Who first used fractions? Were they always written in the same way? How did fractions reach us here? These are the sorts of questions which this article will answer for you.
Take a look at the video and try to find a sequence of moves that will untangle the ropes.
Which dilutions can you make using only 10ml pipettes?
Can you work out the parentage of the ancient hero Gilgamesh?
Can you work out which drink has the stronger flavour?
How much of the square is coloured blue? How will the pattern continue?
Can you find the pairs that represent the same amount of money?
There are some water lilies in a lake. The area that they cover doubles in size every day. After 17 days the whole lake is covered. How long did it take them to cover half the lake?
Aisha's division and subtraction calculations both gave the same answer! Can you find some more examples?
There are lots of ideas to explore in these sequences of ordered fractions.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
Take a line segment of length 1. Remove the middle third. Remove the middle thirds of what you have left. Repeat infinitely many times, and you have the Cantor Set. Can you find its length?
Take a line segment of length 1. Remove the middle third. Remove the middle thirds of what you have left. Repeat infinitely many times, and you have the Cantor Set. Can you picture it?
Choose some fractions and add them together. Can you get close to 1?
What do you notice about these families of recurring decimals?
A mother wants to share a sum of money by giving each of her children in turn a lump sum plus a fraction of the remainder. How can she do this in order to share the money out equally?
In a certain community two thirds of the adult men are married to three quarters of the adult women. How many adults would there be in the smallest community of this type?
Can you see how to build a harmonic triangle? Can you work out the next two rows?
Two brothers were left some money, amounting to an exact number of pounds, to divide between them. DEE undertook the division. "But your heap is larger than mine!" cried DUM...
Imagine a strip with a mark somewhere along it. Fold it in the middle so that the bottom reaches back to the top. Stetch it out to match the original length. Now where's the mark?
Pick two rods of different colours. Given an unlimited supply of rods of each of the two colours, how can we work out what fraction the shorter rod is of the longer one?
Can all unit fractions be written as the sum of two unit fractions?
I need a figure for the fish population in a lake. How does it help to catch and mark 40 fish?
The problem is how did Archimedes calculate the lengths of the sides of the polygons which needed him to be able to calculate square roots?
A personal investigation of Conway's Rational Tangles. What were the interesting questions that needed to be asked, and where did they lead?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. The Greedy Algorithm might provide us with an efficient way of doing this.
Here is a chance to play a fractions version of the classic Countdown Game.
What fractions can you find between the square roots of 65 and 67?
It would be nice to have a strategy for disentangling any tangled ropes...
A monkey with peaches, keeps a fraction of them each day, gives the rest away, and then eats one. How long can his peaches last?
Find some examples of pairs of numbers such that their sum is a factor of their product. eg. 4 + 12 = 16 and 4 × 12 = 48 and 16 is a factor of 48.
Can you express every recurring decimal as a fraction?
The Egyptians expressed all fractions as the sum of different unit fractions. Here is a chance to explore how they could have written different fractions.
Find the maximum value of 1/p + 1/q + 1/r where this sum is less than 1 and p, q, and r are positive integers.
Written for teachers, this article describes four basic approaches children use in understanding fractions as equal parts of a whole.