Friday, May 31, 2013

How Many 16ths of a Pizza Do You Want?

"How many eighths is equal to two fourths?"  My son stares at the colorful triangular blocks on his desk and taps his pencil.

I never know if he's thinking when he does this or if he's just imagining what he's going to build on Minecraft later.

I ask him, "Are you thinking?"  Sometimes I get a nod, but today he just continues to stare and tap.  He is completely lost in space.  That's when I decide to go to plan B.  We take a break.

After break he finally gets the answer, but I'm still not convinced that he really understands, so I make a mental note to come back to it another day.

When school is finished the boys do their normal things like play Minecraft, chase each other up and down the hallway,  and throw rocks into a nearby river.  Then we go and return library books in order to avoid paying late fees, and since it's Friday afternoon and I don't have any other plans for dinner we stop by to get a take-and-bake pizza.

While I'm ordering our family size stretch Half pepperoni, half sausage, green pepper, and onion, the Anchor salutes to everyone who walks in the door and the Free One squeezes himself into the small space between the window and the bench.  Hey, they're just doing their part to further the weird and unsocialized homeschooler stereotype.  When I finally get them to sit quietly on the bench like good, well-behaved children ought to, our pizza is ready.

*** Oh ya, here's a Papa Murphy's tip.  You can always find a coupon on the Retail Me Not app on your phone.  And,  I always do the survey and get a free cheesy bread every time I get a pizza.  That way I have some cheesy bread to be used at some point during the weekend.  I can't even tell you how many times I have fed cheesy bread and fruit to a bunch of little cousins while they were playing at our house.  Probably like 3 times!***

Later, at home, as the pizza bakes, the smell of melted cheese and sizzling sausage makes me think of fractions.  Don't you always think of fractions when you smell pizza?  I call the Free One over to the stove and ask if he wants to help me cut the pizza.  He's pretty excited about that, so I begin giving him specialized instructions on how to cut a pizza.

Step by step instructions to say to a novice pizza cutter who is also learning about equal fractions:
1.  Cut the pizza in half.
2.  Point to one half of the pizza.
3.  Now cut it into fourths.
4.  How many fourths is one half of the pizza?
5.  Next, cut it into eight pieces.
6.  How many eighths is equal to one half?  How many eighths is equal to two fourths?
7.  Now cut each piece in half so you have 16 pieces.
8.  How many 16ths is equal to one half?
***While you're giving instructions don't forget to write the corresponding fractions on the microwave door with a dry erase marker.  

I would have gladly let my son continue to cut the pizza slices until they were the size of carrots, but he didn't need to cut them any smaller because he began saying things like this: "...and nine-eighteenths is equal to one-half, and ten-twentieths is equal to eight-sixteenths..."  No more staring and tapping!
Then I asked him, 
"How many sixteenths of a pizza do you want?"

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