"A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction." -Leo Tolstoy
If Tolstoy said it, it must be true! Nevertheless, it is important to state that for most people, mathematical topics such as fractions are not poetic but rather complicated and confusing; what to do?
Therefore, it comes as absolutely no surprise to find out that for most primary and secondary school pupils, the most challenging academic discipline is maths and by a long shot!
Subjects such as English, Geography, History, and Arts are much preferred by millennials. However, it is absolutely essential to consider mathematical topics such as fractions and that is why in today's article, we will find the best ways to analyse fractions and their overall importance in life.
Why Fractions Are Important
The topic of discussing the complexity of fractions between parents, students, and teachers is not a new one. It is estimated that over half of youngsters analysing portions in primary school years will face difficulties. But do not give up! The basics of fractions are beneficial to learn since they will most definitely be used as Time goes on; for what reasons?
The following are some crucial sectors of life in which fractions are used on the regular:
- Cooking New Recipes: if you've ever opened a cookbook, you'll find plenty of recipes with fractions that must be followed precisely to avoid altering the taste of the overall dish.
- Telling the Time: youngsters in the first few years of primary school learn about how to tell the time by employing fractions such as half an hour, a quarter of an hour, or third quarters etc. The methods acquired stay with them for many years and into adulthood.
- Going Shopping: who doesn't enjoy a fantastic day of retail therapy? It is essential to state that a great morning spent making some purchases is more thoroughly enjoyed when fractions have been grasped. Why? Imagine you've had your eye on some shoes or a new bag yet you are waiting for a sale. The sale finally arrives, and the item(s) is/are 75% off the original price, to calculate how much money you are saving you need to use fractions!
There you have it, three prime ways in which fractions are used very frequently in everyday life. Now let's focus on the following subheading to understand a bit more how they work.
A Brief History of Fractions
If you ever wished for fractions to just disappear, it's not going to happen since they've been around for years and have simplified many aspects of maths for everyday people like you and me.
"Fractions" come from the Latin word fractus which means broken; how fitting! Fractions represent a part of a whole or any number of equal parts. For instance, one-half, eight-fifths, three-quarters are all fractions that are commonly used.
When did fractions come about? Although used for centuries by ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians, decimal fractions have their origins traced back to one man named Simon Stevin in the 1500s who was a Flemish mathematician that spent a great deal of Time standardising the use of decimal fractions.
Afterwards, mathematicians and experts worked on how to develop fractions to be better understood by all types of people.
A significant part of understanding fractions starts with positive common portions where the Numerator and Denominator are natural numbers. A common fraction is a numeral which represents a rational number. Also, other uses of fractions are to represent ratios and division.
Did you know that there are three different types of fractions? Read more to find out!
Identify Fractions: Three Distinct Types
To better understand the rules used for fractions, it is of the utmost importance to identify the three individual groups used. Such as? The following descriptions briefly define the unique kinds of fractions:
- Proper Fractions: to determine an appropriate fraction, students must recognise that appropriate fractions have numerators that are less than the denominators.
- Improper Fractions: fractions that have a numerator that is either equal to or higher than the Denominator are called improper fractions.
- Mixed Fractions: what do you get when you combine both proper and improper fractions together? A mixed fraction!
Now let's focus on ways in which to learn fractions that will help; read the following subheading.
Understanding Different Ways to Learn Fractions
Like the old English expression so clearly states, "there are many ways to skin a cat," there are various different processes to learn fractions that will stick with the person forever. Some are more visual than others and need pictures to grasp a new concept. While, on the other hand, there are quite a few persons who have an idea explained to them and do not need any further details.
Nonetheless, we will consider some basic ideas about how to understand fractions and succeed!
Identifying the Important Bits and Pieces
Before knowing how to solve fractions, it is best to recognise which parts are included in a standard fraction. For example, the following list features essential roles with their definitions:
- The Numerator: the Numerator is the essential little figure that is above the line in a common fraction. It is the "part" of the "whole."
- The Denominator: the Denominator is at the bottom of the line and is ever crucial because it is known as the "whole" part of the entire fraction. To remember its name think of "down" under.
- Knowing the Difference Between Improper, Proper, and Mixed Fractions: if you start noticing the differences between fractions from the beginning, you're golden, and you'll have a great future!
- Recognising the Importance of Fractions in Your Life: if you are a person who frequently complains about maths and thinks that they will never need it in your life, you should stop now! Why? When someone recognises the importance of something, they will try their best to acquire the knowledge necessary.
Draw Pictures and Stay Visual
The first encounter with fractions is usual during the middle of primary school. Therefore, since children are very visual and want things to be fun, they need a lot of pictures to keep things interesting.
We hugely recommend starting with the basics and drawing a circle and cutting it into equal pieces to get familiar with how fractions work. By doing this, things are kept interesting for visual learners.
Essential Tricks to Keep in Mind When Analysing Fractions
Like all subsectors and distinct topics of maths, it takes some time to become familiar with how to effectively complete some problems and understand the rules. Fractions are no different. While basic fractions are usually taught in the last few years of primary school, that doesn't make them any easier to grasp.
Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for pupils to seek the guidance of online tutorials, Superprof based maths tutors, and tips and tricks from seasoned mathematicians to learn fractions with relative success.
Without further ado, the following are some essential tips to excel at fractions and make your classmates jealous:
- Add Fractions Without the Least Common Multiple: very simple to use and has been employed for a long time by those who do not want to calculate the LCM. Why is it a helpful tip? The BIG BAD Least Common Multiple is avoided, and the number of steps required to add fractions is significantly reduced.
- Use the Circle Method: while the circle method is not called this way by all, it is beneficial to follow when creating an improper fraction. Why is it useful? Learners are provided with a systematic method for creating improper fractions that are easy to remember and not soon to be forgotten.
- Try Memorising Decimal Equivalents: we know, we know, more things to memorise? While it is true that maths have so many different formulas and rules that need to be memorised and adding another one might seem overwhelming, we highly recommend the memorisation of decimals for common fractions. Why? It saves a lot of time and improves your overall numerical sense. It should be done the same way that people memorise their time tables.
After analysing these tips and tricks that drastically help you won't feel so depressed hearing the word "fractions" in your next maths class!
Definitions From Today's Article
Since today's article was a rather technical one that discussed terms and vocabulary that is not frequently used in everyday conversation, it is essential to provide some definitions to educate all types of readers; especially those who have forgotten about fractions in their life.
What is the Least Common Multiple?
In mathematical terms, the Least Common Multiple or LCM is the smallest positive integer that is divisible by both a and b.
What is a rational number?
When considering various topics of mathematics, the term rational number may be mentioned, and it can be defined as a number that is explained as the fraction of two integers.
We hope that you enjoyed today's article and have realised that fractions can actually be fun!