How we use fractions everyday and don’t even realize it (Math worksheets center) If you walk down the aisles of your local mall you probably would get a third of the way there without coming in contact into a fraction in some way . After all, that walk down the aisle is a fraction: 1/3. Yes, we use fractions in one way or another in everyday life even though we may not completely realize it. For example, you use fractions every time you look at a clock. Yes, we know that quart past (1/4), half past (1/2) and quarter till (? s past) are fractions. In fact, all time telling is a fraction of x/60 with the exception of when it is time on the hour as it then becomes a whole number (60/60 = 1) For example, 36 minutes past the hour is 3/5’s. This concept of looking at a clock is applicable to everything. Any value of anything that is not a whole number is a fraction! After all, that is what a fraction is?. a part of a whole. And there are parts of a whole everywhere! If you don’t believe this, then try baking a cake without using fractions.

If it were not for fractions something as simple as baking a cake would be impossible. When you put 2 eggs into the cake mix you are using 1/6 of a dozen. In fact, every ingredient in a cake recipe is a fraction of something: a cup of milk, a teaspoon of salt, a stick of butter, a half a cup of chocolate chips. Can you imagine the result of baking a cake mixing an entire salt shaker, a gallon of milk, a pound of butter, a dozen eggs and an entire bag of chocolate chips? You would either have a really poor tasting cake or you would have a cake the size of the refrigerator!

It is interesting to note that even those students who do very well on tests that feature fractions seem to very poorly on understanding how fractions work in everyday life. This is not because they do not grasp the concept of fractions but because they are somewhat disconnected between the way fractions make the transition from the classroom and into practical experience. This is odd because fractions are literally everywhere. The problem is that fractions are not always presented in a recognizable manner. When we see signs in front of a store that say: “Half off! Everything must go! it is pretty obvious that you can get that $100 TV set for $50. But what really attracts people to the store is those words “Half off! ” pretty much scream about a deal you are going to receive. Now, imagine if the stores used the following sign: “1/2! ” Not only is such a sign significantly less catchy than “Half off” it looks like some kind of numerical code for a secret agent! But, there are fractions as are the tons of half off, third off, three quarters sales as well. Yes, fractions are everywhere. There are fractions when use order a quarter pounder with cheese (1/4), purchase gasoline for 2. 9 5/9 a gallon. Granted the one fraction you won’t see is the 4/9 of a penny change on a gallon of gas but that is another story. But, you can generally rely on coming into contact with fractions in one form or another mainly because parts of a whole are far more common that complete collectives of any one thing. This may seem odd to us because when we first learn math we learn the much easier to understand whole numbers system. As our education progresses we are introduced to more complex aspects of math but our minds are hardwired to look for what we first learned.

As such, we have a tendency to ignore the presence of fractions even though they are pretty much all around us all time. | Mathematics in Everyday Situations – Lesh (1985) Richard Lesh, of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey, believes that if students are provided with everyday situations for practicing and learning the important uses of mathematics, they will develop such skills as “making inferences, evaluating reasonableness of results… [and] using references to ‘look up’ what they need to know. ” Article:

Lesh, R. (1985). Processes, skills, and abilities needed to use mathematics in everyday situations. Education and Urban Society, 17(4), 439-446. Overview: Lesh criticizes traditional textbooks and teaching methods, saying that their one-step problems rarely exercise students’ skills, and that they do not reflect real-life mathematical situations. Lesh believes that there should be as much–or more–emphasis in the mathematics classroom on understanding mathematical concepts and possible mathematical relationships as on accurate computation.

Students should be taught to recognize situations in which their mathematical skills can be utilized. Mathematizable situations in the classroom, such as wallpapering a wall or balancing a class budget, cause students to engage in multiple mathematics processes and to learn how mathematical concepts are related to one another in a useful and meaningful way. Such experiences also require students to talk and think about mathematics with one another and with the teacher. Direct Quotes: A goal of the project was to identify important processes, skills, and understandings that are needed by students to use mathematical ideas in everyday situations. A substantial part of the project consisted of students working together in small groups on problems that might reasonably occur in the normal lives of the students and their families: balancing a checkbook, planning a vacation within a budget, wallpapering a room, estimating distances using a map, and so on” (p. 439). “Getting a collection of isolated concepts in a youngster’s head (e. g. measurement, addition, multiplication, decimals, proportional reasoning, fractions, negative numbers) does not guarantee that these ideas will be organized and related to one another in some useful way; it does not guarantee that situations will be recognized in which the ideas are useful or that they will be retrievable when they are needed” (pp. 439-440). “The ‘back to basics’ movement that is currently influencing many of the nation’s schools is often uninformed and misdirected. Results of National Assessment Tests, for example, show that ‘Johnny can add; computation with whole numbers is far from a lost art’ (Carpenter et al. 1975: 457). In fact, although there are plenty of students who do poorly on computation problems, results from most large-scale testing programs show that there are fewer of them today than at any time in the past. Today’s youngsters run into difficulty in making inferences, solving problems, evaluating the reasonableness of results, using references to ‘look up’ what they need to know, and so on. It is the complex skills, not the basic skills that are deteriorating. What we need is to get back to complexity, where thinking is required in addition to simply knowing some isolated fact or procedure.

In realistic situations in which mathematics is used, question asking, information gathering, and trial-answer evaluating are often more important than simple answer giving. Real problems usually require more than simple one-step solutions” (p. 441). [On a problem about individuals’ overall performances in sports events, in which multiple pieces of information were given, including scores on running and jumping and qualitative comments from the coaches, the students] “seemed driven to do some messy calculation with the numbers, sensible or not.

In fact, most of the students were quite skillful at the arithmetic of *numbers*, but many real problems involve the arithmetic of *quantities* — a skill that mathematics textbook authors tend to assume is covered in science, and science textbook authors tend to assume is covered in mathematics” (p. 444). “In problems that require multi-step solution procedures, it is important to *plan* what you are going to do before doing it; *monitor* what you are doing *while* you are doing it; and *evaluate* the sensibility of your results.

These skills are seldom practiced in simple one-step textbook problems… The students who participated in our project did improve in their ability to deal with problems [like the one described above], which we believe are similar to the kinds they will meet in everyday situations, job situations, or later mathematics courses. To some extent, our students improved because we worked with them individually on some specific skills: graphing, measuring, estimating, and so forth.

They probably also got better on problems that require planning, organizing, and recording simply because our problems required them to practice and use these skills. Further, they were forced to reorganize their mathematical ideas because our problems usually involved more than a single concept. The more organized character of their knowledge should benefit them greatly in future mathematics courses” (p. 445). References: Carpenter, T. P. , T. G. Coburn, R. E. Kays, and J. W. Wilson (1975). Results and implications of the NAEP mathematics assessment: secondary school.

Mathematics Teacher, 68, 453-470. Summary by Maria Ong Integrating Math Into Everyday Life By: Jason Gibson It is no secret that many students suffer from math anxiety. For some, the sight of a math problem on the page simply causes the brain to go into lock-up. After this happens, the student will simply guess about how to proceed with the problem rather than actually think about how to solve it. If you couple knowledge with good old-fashioned practice and confidence, then you do not need to have problems with anything you tackle in school, especially math.

If you believe that you are good at something, then given enough determination you usually can be good at it. This holds true for all levels of math, from the most basic addition all the way to advanced algebra, calculus, and beyond. The question then becomes, How can we increase a child’s math skills? How can we help him gain confidence, so that when the going gets tough or he makes a mistake, he forges on and overcomes the obstacle rather than giving up? One concrete way to do this is to integrate math into your children’s lives from a very young age.

When you think about it for a moment, none of us has any difficulty speaking the English language, but learning any foreign language is most certainly more complicated than learning basic math. Think of all of the elements involved in learning a language: words and definitions, verb conjugations, sentence structure, inflection in the voice, etc. , and all of this is learned before 4 years of age and without any textbook at all! In short, learning to speak any language seems to be easy because we were immersed in it from a very young age. We need to take the same approach with math.

The trick is to integrate basic math into everyday life before your child even realizes he or she is “learning” something. Look for ways to creatively bring math into the child’s activities–ways that are actually fun so that from the beginning he or she associates math with positive thoughts. One opportunity to do this occurs when your preschooler “helps” you in the kitchen. Most kids love to help Mom or Dad cook dinner. In our home, from an early age we let our child help measure out ingredients into the mixing bowl. We began with measuring teaspoons of sugar, salt, and whatever else the recipes called for.

We gradually moved to measuring cups of water when making soups, measuring out beans, and the like. If anything can be measured, our son does the measuring. The beauty of this is that he never tires of it, and from a very early age he learned a use for counting. Believe it or not, measuring three tablespoons of flour does teach the concept of numbers to children in a very solid way. As a bonus, our child quickly wanted to know what the fractions listed on the measuring cup were, so we began to “teach” fractions by having him measure out all of the fractional ingredients as well.

Fractions are actually a sticking point for many people, even adults, so if you can break down barriers early on, it can only be a plus. Fractions can be introduced more concretely in any number of ways. When making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, we have always quartered the sandwich. You can take this opportunity to count the quarters and point out that there are four quarters in a whole sandwich. Going a step further, you can put two of the four pieces of the sandwich together and show how two quarters equals half of a sandwich!

This may seem trivial to you and me, but you have just demonstrated to a 4-year-old how to simplify the fraction 2/4 to 1/2! Other areas of math can be introduced to young children without too much trouble. For example, each week you can have your child record his or her height on a simple table. In the first column, record the week number (week 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. ), and in the second column record the height measured in inches or centimeters. The beauty of this is that you can get a multitude of benefit from this simple exercise.

First, you can teach about how people grow and get a science lesson in. Second, your child will learn about measurements and how to read a ruler or tape measure. Third, after a few weeks or months have gone by, you can plot the results on graph paper. On the horizontal axis will be the week number, and on the vertical axis will be the height. Your child will love plotting his or her height and will learn about graphing in the process! Reading a chart is a very important skill that many adults have problems with, so breaking down barriers such as this at an early age will be of great benefit.

These are just a few examples of how to integrate math into your daily routine. It does take effort to do this, especially in the beginning, but you will find that doing this will in the long run make your child more comfortable with math. It will become something familiar rather than an abstract topic that is difficult to understand. Learning math is all about building both knowledge and confidence. If math concepts are introduced in the right way, your child can be motivated to want to continue learning–and this is a goal that all parents strive to attain.

Jason Gibson Jason Gibson is the owner and teacher in the DVD videos offered at Math Tutor DVD. Jason has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in physics. MathTutorDVD. com produces award-winning math tutorial content on DVD in all levels of math, including basic arithmetic, all levels of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, calculus, and physics. © 2006-2010 Math Tutor DVD (MathtutorDVD. com) All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.