Fractions are very much evident and is sporadically used in people’s professional careers, jobs and even in everyday life. We usually don’t give much thought into it, but we are using fractions unconsciously as we go through our daily routine. Fractions as well as variations of it such as decimals, percentages and ratios can be used in a daily basis. On different occasions, we might have caught ourselves mulling dreadfully over the study of fractions during math class, thinking of different ways on how to apply fractions in real life, if such thing is possible.
Well, let me tell you that there is a plethora of things that you do everyday which uses fractions. Simply put, the knowledge of how fractions operate and how we can manipulate them by using the four fundamental operations play an important part in life. Without this knowledge, everyday life and even daily interactions with other people will be harder. One of the most basic uses of fractions is for cooking purposes. Depending on the recipe, we are usually required to measure ingredients in cooking meals or baking cakes.
For example, you are making lasagna and the recipe that you are looking for would only serve up to 4 people, but you are cooking for 8. You need to double the recipe so that you will be able to make up to 8 servings. If the recipe calls for ? cup of chopped onions, you need to double this amount. So, the equation will be ? + ? = 1 cup of chopped onions to be used in cooking lasagna for 8 people. Fractions are also very evident in driving. If you look at the dashboard of your car, you will see that most gauges located in this area are divided into 4 parts.
In line with driving, fractions can also be used in following directions. Most of the traffic signs and directions posted in highways are in the context of fractions. More often than not, traffic signs will tell you that the next exit is in ? mile or the next gas station is in ? mile. If you are going to a destination and you are asking someone for directions, they will usually tell you how to get there in terms of fractions. For example, you see that your fuel gauge is just ? full, if you want to know your fuel consumption you just need to do the following equation: 1 – ? = ? total fuel that you have already consumed.
Lastly, you can use fractions in daily monetary transactions, it is obvious that prices are in decimal form. Furthermore, decimals and fractions are both considered representations of the same idea. (Schwartz, 2008, p. 111) We often convert fractions to decimals and vice-versa. For example, you need $1. 25 (1 ? ) worth of quarters to do one load of laundry. You need to do three loads total so you need to come up with 1 ? x 3 = 3 ? worth of quarters. How many quarters do you need to come up with to arrive at this amount?
In order to answer this, you must solve the following equation: 3 ? (for the total that you need to come up with) divided by ? (representing one quarter). The answer is you need 15 quarters to do three loads of laundry. As you can see the aforementioned examples are just the simple things that we do everyday that includes the application of fractions in our daily life. But you must keep in mind that these applications are not limited to those which are mentioned above as there are numerous ways that fractions can also be used.
So the next time that you catch your thoughts wandering to something else during a discussion about fractions in class, you must realize that you should pay utmost attention because you never know when will be your next chance or opportunity to apply this knowledge to make your life easier. References Schwartz, J. E. (2008) Relationship between Decimal Numbers and Fractions, Elementary Mathematics Pedagogical Content Knowledge Powerful Ideas for Teachers, 111
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