Thursday, 5 March 2009

Fractions are a piece of cake

I like fractions. I suppose that I like maths in general, but I like fractions in particular because I can see what they are all about. Take a cake and cut it into two. You know that you have two halves and if you put them back together you know that you have a whole cake. I suppose that is why I like fractions because there always seems to be some mention of cake.

Now cut the cake in half again and you have four quarters. Eat one of these pieces and you are left with three quarters. Eat two more quarters and you are left with one quarter.

Still feeling hungry?! Just imagine you have all the four quarters again. Get you knife again and cut them all in half. Now you have eight pieces that make a whole cake. Each piece is an eighth of the whole, i.e. one eighth, usually written in short 1/8.

So now, as well as the smallest pieces like eighths, you can visualise halves (1/2), quarters (1/4) and any number of these pieces. So, you also know that 2/8 is 1/4,. And two quarters make a half. As you can see, it's a piece of cake.

That sums it up

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