What I did during the Pandemic

Now that we have a vaccine and there is a light at the end of the Pandemic tunnel, I want to share with you what I did to keep my sanity during this time. I took on the fractions barrier challenge. Let me explain. I was reading an article by Tom Loveless in which he wrote:

“Fractions are a difficult transition from whole number knowledge. They conceptually pose a huge wall that many 4th, 5th, and 6th graders cannot climb. We currently have several amazing researchers working on the problem. Let’s help them and supply practitioners more tools to help kids climb over the fractions wall.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t mention who these amazing researchers are, but their existence did inspire me to work on the problem as well. Forget Goldbach’s conjecture or Riemann’s Hypothesis, I came up with an antidote for what I call the Fraction Malaise. (The discomfort caused by studying fractions.)

If you followed me at clime.org and/or dmcpress.org you probably recall that I’m a big fan of using stories to motivate students to think deeply about interesting math ideas. So I applied this to the fractions problem and came up with “An Adventure in Numbertown” which is a 45-page sequel to the animated video The Weird Number. Unlike a regular book, my adventure includes Scratch-based apps throughout my work.

So without further ado get some popcorn and start reading my draft of “An adventure in Number Town” starring 2/3 and his pals. Here’s the link. A Google Docs version is also available here.)

Regards, Ihor Charischak

ihor@clime.org

PS. If you find any glitches, typos, etc. please let me know so I can correct them. Thank you! Also, if you like what you read please share it with a colleague!

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