Part of what makes learning fractions tricky is that there at least three unnatural things to learn:

  1. The written language of fractions
  2. The spoken language of fractions
  3. The math of fractions

I work in a third grade classroom right now and I’ve heard a bunch of kids say something like the following:

a third


“This is a third.”

Why? There’s an enormous mushing that goes around with “fourth” and “four,” with “third” and “three.”

Related(?) mistake: 4/6 is equivalent to 1/3

Maybe that isn’t related, but I heard it out of a kid who thought a third was 3/4, so it’s probably connected somehow. Maybe you guys can figure out how.