Clearly a ¼-pounder is larger than a ⅓-pounder. After all, 4 is larger than 3. Right?

Americans don’t understand numbers—especially when those numbers are fractions. You may know the true story about Arby’s customers who were convinced that a new ⅓-pound burgers contained less meat than the familiar ¼-pounder, since 4 is larger than 3.

Maybe it’s not just Americans. I don’t know about the rest of the world. My view is heavily biased by results from international math competitions, which are not exactly a randomly chosen selection in any country.

If you want to get way down into the weeds about what fractions are all about—particularly their relationship to terminating and repeating decimals—read the article by James Propp in the link above. You’ll learn something. It will change your life!

Or maybe not.

But read it anyway, at least part of it.

Categories: Math, Teaching & Learning