This activity is a reworking of the Student Math Notes (SMN) activities “Egyptian Fractions” from March 2009 and “Egyptian Mathematics” from May 1983. A 2010–2011 user survey identified the original activity as one of the most popular SMN activities in the current collection of over seventy activities available (www.nctm.org/sem, click Back Issues).
Give students an opportunity to explore fractions as the Egyptians used them as they are introduced to the Egyptian notations, answer questions of division using that notation, and then make connections to our modern representations. Students also explore a variety of methods for comparing fractions without needing common denominators. In this updated version, students work on developing their own methods for rewriting fractions.
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Divide Like an Egyptian [Student Version]