That troublesome F word

"Fractions are funky fiends, which can disguise themselves as dicey divisions (decimals), or perky parts (percents)."

If you ask the average American what gave them the most trouble in school, the answer is usually math, and if you were to ask what aspect of math, I think the general consensus would reply, "Ooo... fractions. I hated them."

People have a general fear and dislike of fractions. But fractions are merely what they are, a fraction of a whole. When you cut an apple into 6 slices, each slice is 1/6 of the whole. When you receive a pizza delivery and you promptly eat one of the eight slices, you have 7/8 left. And if you have 4 cookies to share with eight friends, you use fractions to decide that either you need to cut the cookies in half or lose some friends.

Even though fractions are used in everyday life ALL the time, people would much rather work with whole numbers, decimals, or percents when it comes to doing math. Why?

"There are too many rules with fractions... All that adding the numerator, but not the denominator stuff," "It’s easier to avoid them," "I don't have a calculator," or "They just aren't normal."

BUT... decimals, percents, and even whole numbers are just fractions in disguise. "Percent" is actually a phrase meaning, "for every (divided by) one hundred," and Decimal is a number written in divisions of ten (i.e. tenths, hundredths, thousandths...).

EX: 50% = 50/100; 4% = 4/100; 645% = 645/100; 2.5%= 2.5/100 or 25/1000; .5 = 5/10 or 1/2; 0.45 = 45/100; 0.565 = 565/1000; 0.0001 = 1/10000; 2 = 2/1

I am not a fraction-lover myself, but I appreciate that there are different tools I can use to solve a mathematical problem.


Ashlea M.

Math, Science, and much more

5+ hours
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