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Fraction idioms?

Good language learning is idiomatic. What are some "math idioms" that involve fractions? To parapharse Sue Hellman: What would a kid want to be able to do that having some 'fraction language' would make possible or easier?"


Task Discussion

  • MrSteve   Nov. 30, 2011, 12:39 a.m.


    idiom |ˈidēəm|


    1 a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light).

    a form of expression natural to a language, person, or group of people : he had a feeling for phrase and idiom.

    the dialect of a people or part of a country.

    2 a characteristic mode of expression in music or art : they were both working in a neo-Impressionist idiom.

    ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from French idiome, or via late Latin from Greek idiōma ‘private property, peculiar phraseology,’ from idiousthai ‘make one's own,’ from idios ‘own, private.’


    So if we use definition one, we are "by definition" making it harder for kids to learn, as they being human creatures, will naturally try to take in new things by mapping it to what they know.

    I prefer the 1st bullet "a form of expression natural to a ... person", in this case those strange creatures we call kids.

    I am reminded of reading Miquon Math: Notes to Teachers by Lore Rasmussen

    Where she talked about using language kids could understand (may have the quote wrong here, but "2 of 3" instead of "2 over 3" for 2/3. 

  • Maria Droujkova   Nov. 30, 2011, 7:20 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MrSteve   Nov. 30, 2011, 12:39 a.m.

    Taxonomic definitions are so helpful! 

    Studying patterns in what is natural for kids is fascinating. A lot of language groups of kids develop is accidental, somewhat - referring to some private, immediate association. "Let's call this fraction... a dragon" (because the kid happens to be looking at one at the moment). Each stable group has a "local idialect" of sorts.

    I am intrigued by #2 though: "a characteristic mode of expression." For example, Egyptian fractions would be that, I think.