**Visualizing how to multiply & divide fractions**

This summer we checked out this book called The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies. I read the book first because I wasn't familiar with the author, etc... I let my older two read it (11 & 10) with discussion (topics like divorce and jealously, etc...)

But I didn't realize until recently how much that book helped me with math!

Trying not to write spoilers, the book is about an older boy who struggles with math and his bright little sister who will be advanced into his grade and his struggles with not feeling smart. They have a lemonade stand contest and the story ends very well. But all along his journey he practices putting algebraic math into "pictures" that he can wrap his brain around and guess what? My brain wrapped around it.

I can now help my dd with her Singapore 5A math. It's been a blessing and I am so encouraged to "get" something that has eluded me all my life. Just thought I'd share in case there are other very visual, math challenged parents out there.

An example of a problem would be 5A textbook pg 64 # 38 "Mrs. Meier had 3/5 kg of sugar. She used 1/4 of it to make cookies. How much sugar did she use to make the cookies?" This question would have fried my brain before reading this book.

But now I draw a picture like this- O O O O O (this is a kg of sugar in fifths)

then • • • O O (I don't normal "type" math so I'm making do here but this is 3/5 kg)

Then I made lines quartering each dot so each dot had 4 "pie triangles"

I'm no longer looking at a kg broken down into fifths but in 20ths.

you still with me? Now I have to find out how much of a kg she used when she started out with 3/5 or 12/20.

Well I can look at it and see that 1/4 of my original 3/5 (12/20) is 3 "triangles" worth or 3/20 which is the answer.

For those of you that have math brains I'm sure this process seems ridiculous but for us "picture" people it's freedom at last!!!

I hope I didn't give you a headache :)

ps Now that I did the problem visually I can sort of see how to set it up to do that whole cross multiply and divide deal but I can't ever remember how to set things up by just looking at the problem.

I know--I'm weird---as I tell my daughter, "Honey, we have other gifts!"