The difficulty of Taeko Okajima with fraction division: part 4

In previous posts I told about the difficult relationship of the character Taeko Okajima with Mathematics (part 1), the importance of mathematical definitions to avoid common language interpretations (part 2) and how to share an object for “fractional people” (part 3) . We will continue this discussion by presenting a free course on cultural dissemination launched by Unicamp a month ago (05/04/2021) and which allows, with a small investment of time (2 hours forecast), to review Rational Numbers.

The theme of this course fits well with the context we presented in the previous posts, where the character Taeko from the 1991 anime Omoide Poro Poro (Yesterday’s Memories) is having difficulties in dividing fractions, and when asking for help from her older sister , Yaeko, she can’t explain how she would divide 2/3 of an apple to 1/4 of people. Thus, limited to performing operations without understanding its concept.

Similarly, the authors of this Cultural Diffusion course focus on this revision of Racionais numbers to High School, while the content Racionais numbers in the Brazilian curriculum appears in the 7th Year of Elementary School II. The reason for this focus is precisely the same reason why Yaeko could not explain to his younger sister (Taeko) what the meaning of that operation was. We see the content of Rational numbers, we are approved in the respective Teaching Year, and this content is considered as “mastered” by the student, without at other times, we will review this topic in a more meticulous way.

So, I pose the challenge to you reader, could it be that at some point after learning the rules of operations with fractions at school, did you come to review this topic with more maturity? Do you really understand how to solve seemingly simple rational numbers exercises? Or even if you manage to solve it, do you have a domain to understand how someone else tried to solve it and be able to guide them?

I completed this course, it is really nice because it accompanies several videos explaining the objectives of each step and the importance of reviewing this topic, in addition to being an easy-to-use interactive material. But I admit, there were some exercises that gave me reason to think. I share with you two of them, involving finding the area of ​​a region expressed by a periodic tithe. Along with the exercises, we have the attempts to “resolve the students” for them. Can you solve the exercises? Can you see the problem in the students’ resolution? How would you explain to them why they made a mistake and how they should think about solving these exercises?

Image extracted from the course “Plano de aula: uma revisão sobre números Racionais para o Ensino Médio”.

If you felt difficulties in these actions, there is no reason to be ashamed and feel lucky, because there is this excellent free course offered by Unicamp (click here to access the course) and take the opportunity to review this theme of which Taeko, protagonist of the anime Omoide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday), misjudges it as a necessary condition for people to be successful in life.

Let’s stop here, but this discussion continues in the final post of this series: Taeko Okajima’s difficulty with fraction division: part 5. I’ll be waiting there!

Cover image taken from the anime Omoide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday).

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