## vulgar fractions

when i was in 3rd grade, my family lived in melbourne, australia for jan-june. since their academic calendar starts in jan, i attended half of 3rd grade in the states, half of 4th in australia, and then came back to the states and finished a whole 4th grade year. i remember being more advanced in my penmanship, but needing to learn certain letters differently (p, r). my sister, 2 years younger, probably first learned to write there; her writing to this day shows more australian influence than mine.

last time i was home my parents had me sort through one of the (seemingly endless) boxes full of stuff they’d saved and i found one notebook, with only 4 pages completed, of homework from that classroom. it’s been kind of fun this term to take notes on my dissertation and at professional conferences in the same notebook in which i learned fractions. here’s a photo of half a page. note how neat! also how thorough and patient the teacher’s explanation!

nope, i don’t remember what “vulgar fractions” was supposed to mean.

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May 16, 2008 at 5:23 am

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May 16, 2008 at 4:50 pm

A vulgar fraction is just any fraction with an integer in the numerator and an integer in the denominator. I think it’s from the latin root of vulgar meaning common or ordinary. It’s not that vulgar fractions somehow lack sophistication. There are proper and improper fractions, too, depending on whether the numerator is smaller or larger than the denominator.