Q&A #221

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching dividing fractions

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From: RON

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2003061021:33:09
Subject: Re: dividing fractions

For a practical application of division of fractions, try the following: A man wants to build some shelves. He needs to have the shelves 19 3/4 inches long and needs 38 shelves. The lumber he wants comes in 8 foot ($13), 10 foot ($15), and 12 foot ($17) lengths. Numerous questions could be posed on an elementary level, some for those who need practice dividing fractions and others for the more advanced students who need more of a challenge. e.g. 1) How many shelves can be obtained from each length of board? 2) What combination of boards purchased will yield 38 shelves and will cost the least? Similar problems using other "around the house" issues can be constructed, e.g. wallpapering, sewing ( if anyone still does that), landscaping, etc. The practical issue is usually one of cost (or economics), which fits nicely into a cross-curriculum aspect of studying mathematics. A bit too late for this school year, but useable next time around. RON

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