Skip to main content

Fractions Make Friends

We sit side by side at the table, uncommon fare on our plates, hotdogs and Sun Chips. Stuart's chips are gone. No problem, mine are close at hand. His hand reaches over and he snitches! He snitches just one but just one is not enough so, by and by his hand is back again. And again! I say nothing the first time or the second. What are two chips between husband and wife? But as he reaches for the third chip, I lean my body over to shield my plate. I laugh and he laughs and then he makes off with that third chip. "Get your own!" I gripe and he does, but honestly...How hard would it have been to share?

Today I do math with little girls. Division with fraction remainders.

Photobucket

"How many times does three go into twenty. Use your rods. How many ten rods do you need?"

"Two."

"How many three rods line up under the ten rods."

""Six."

"So does three go into twenty evenly?"

"No, there is a little space left."

"What rod fits in that space?"

"The two fits."

"That's right. So is the answer six-two?"

"No, Mama! It's six and two parts of three. Six and two over three. Six and two thirds!" This stuff is easy for Faith.

Claire looks a little confused.

"Do you understand the two thirds part? It's a fraction. Do you remember what a fraction is?"
Confusion still clouds her face. "It is a part of a whole. Remember last night when we had two cookies, two wholes and you broke them into five pieces? You were making fractions."

The clouds lift. She gets it. "And we were making friends, Mama. Fractions and friends."

She does this math lesson better than I. The cookie scene replays in my mind while we work our way through the numbers. Two lonely cookies on a big plate, stale, leftover from Valentine's Day. "Whoever frosted these cookies come and eat them, they are taking up too much real estate on the counter." The children gather, all five, to look. Rightful owners claim the goods. Without a word, they begin breaking apart their creations into equal pieces. Five children share two stale cookies. This part of my children astonishes me. They hold lightly to possessions and share freely, frequently. All are better at fractions than their hoarding mama with her chips. And all are friends.

Comments

Children learn by example...I suspect that you and Stuart are stunning examples of charity and sharing....unless there are Sun Chips involved.

Xandra
Alana said…
Cute story! I love how you can use every day situations like that to teach your children!
Elise said…
This just really gets me. I love it. So thought-provoking, yet simple. xoxo

Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…

Rain

My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are better...best together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …