Posted on Leave a comment

Why Learn Fractions?

Have you ever wondered why we need to know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions? After all, don’t we use decimal notation for most real-life problems?

Division, Algebra, and Fractions

One main use of fractions is found in algebra. While most curricula present fractions as a way of describing partial quantities, it is also a way of describing division. 3/4 represents three quarters of a whole and what we would get if we divided three by four (3 ÷ 4 = 3/4).

Because it represents division, the fraction line basically replaces the division sign in algebra. It thus gives us a very helpful way of describing and working with consistencies in God’s creation, such as the Law of Gravity, which can be represented algebraically like this:  Notice the fraction line!

For a more simple example of algebra and fractions in action, consider this formula for finding the width of a rectangle if we know the length and the area:

w = width of a rectangle
l = length of a rectangle
A = area of a rectangle

Again, notice the fraction line!

The skills learned with fractions later help students use algebra to explore God’s creation and solve real-life problems.

More Fractions in Real Life

Fractions also apply in various non-algebraic real-life problems too. Below are some examples.

Measurement – If there’s 1/2 a yard of fabric on one bolt and 1/4 on another, how much yardage is there?
Music – A quarter note represents a quarter of a whole note.
Cooking – We might need to use a 1/4 cup three times to measure 3/4 cup, since the 3/4 cup measuring cup is in the dishwasher.
Produce sold by the pound – A quarter pound of apples at $1.99 a pound is how much?
Unit conversion – We use a ratio worth one (written as a fraction) when converting units (such as miles to kilometers–or dollars to a foreign currency).

The Bottom Line

Each aspect of math is a tool to help us describe God’s creation and serve Him. Fractions are no exception!

Note: For more thoughts on fractions, as well as other arithmetic concepts, and ideas on how to teach them from a biblical worldview (including lots of practical ideas you can use), see Revealing Arithmetic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *