This is how Nora’s math lesson today on fractions went down.
Mom: Read the directions.
Nora: Each part is one-fourth. There are four equal parts. Mark each figure that shows one-fourth.
(Long pause as she studies the shaded pie pieces.)
Nora: I don’t know what to do.
Mom: How many equal parts are there?
Mom: No, there are four. (pointing and counting) 1-2-3-4.
Nora: Oh! I wasn’t counting the shaded part. (Glad we got that figured out!)
(Long pause still not marking the figures)
Nora: I still don’t know what to do.
Mom: (reading directions) Mark each figure that shows one-fourth…..(long discussion follows about the number on the bottom of the fraction being the equal parts and the top number being shaded.)
Nora continues staring at the mystical math page.
Mom: (reading directions) Mark each figure that shows one-fourth. (points to the first one) Does this show one-fourth?
Nora: One-fourth of what? A teaspoon?
Mom: (trying not to reach up and pull my own hair out) No, this is just about the shapes on this page. (points to 1/4 shaded pie) Does this have four equal parts?
Nora: Yes. (no other movement occurs)
Mom: So, you should mark each figure that shows one-fourth. (another long discussion about 1/4)
Nora still not moving her pencil toward the fresh page.
Mom: Why aren’t you marking the figure that you just said IS one-fourth?
Nora: I don’t know what a figure is.
Ah, this is an English problem!