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Learning Fractions in the Metric System

Date: 11/27/2003 at 12:57:02
From: Scott
Subject: Metric, fractions and learning

I found a website that said metric measurements should never be 
written as fractions.  Therefore, I believe that students in countries
that use fractions are at a disadvantage against students in pure
metric countries.  Metric students are able to bypass the subject of
fractions (which confuses so many) and therefore spend time and energy
on more advanced topics. 

Would you agree with this opinion of mine?



Date: 11/28/2003 at 22:52:25
From: Doctor Peterson
Subject: Re: Metric, fractions and learning

Hi, Scott.

It is true that one is not officially supposed to write metric 
measurements as fractions; but I certainly hope that fully metric 
countries do not skip teaching fractions, because they are useful for 
more than just writing numbers of inches or centimeters!  Knowing how
to manipulate fractions is important in algebra; and fractions are the
only way to write most rational numbers exactly, as well as an
important model of ratios.  So if anything, pure metric countries may
be at a DISadvantage, in not giving students as much practice in this 
essential bit of math!

If you have any further questions, feel free to write back.

- Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum
  http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ 


Date: 11/29/2003 at 15:31:09
From: Scott
Subject: Thank you (Metric, fractions and learning)

Thank you very much for the answer.  I hadn't looked at it that way. 
I have often wondered how much teaching time fractions are given in
metric countries.
Associated Topics:
Elementary Fractions
Elementary Measurement
Middle School Fractions
Middle School Measurement

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