## Monday, 6 February 2012

### The Great Fractions and Decimals Debate!

In year 10 maths we had a great couple of lessons debating the following question.....

What is easier? Changing a fraction to a decimal or a decimal to a fraction?

This blog entry tells us only a little about the debate because we are inviting readers to cast their votes using the quick poll below. Rather than tell you what we concluded, we will explain how we approached the debate!

Firstly, we asked everyone for their gut reaction and to cast a vote straightaway. The group was a bit unevenly split, so we asked a few people who were wavering to change camps and then set the two groups the task of preparing their cases and preparing to counter anything put forward by the other team. Students decided to make each of their points with an example. We also agreed that following each point we would let the opposing team set a similar example that they thought would be harder. The great part of the discussion was teams discussing what they thought the other team would throw at them and anticipating the other teams arguments so they could think of examples to throw back.

After this we had a good go at a formal debate on the topic, with each side taking turns and responding to the others before putting the question to a vote based on the evidence presented. Perhaps we can add to this entry after some more people have cast their votes. Perhaps some people will continue the debate with some comments. Students would love to see some comments coming from different places! At this stage though, we will just say that this was great fun and an excellent way to bring out the many associated mathematical issues and generate a need for techniques and discussion. A great debate was had!

Cast your vote and continue below....

1. I was surprized when I saw the results of the pole so far because it was 50/50

kind regards

Alexandra

2. Wow! It is 50/50! I went for fractions to decimals.

Camryn

3. I believe that changing decimal to a fraction is easier because all you have do is put the decimal on top of the place value of the last digit on the bottom and the decimal on top and you are finished ( this is without simplifying).

4. We are learning the same thing in math about converting decimals to fractions!

5. I chose fraction to decimal

Katie

6. If you have a calculator than fraction to decimal is easier but if you don't than decimal to fraction is easier

7. I feel that it is easier to convert fractions to decimals

8. Converting fractions to decimals is easier. All you have to do is divide the numerator by the denominator. Then you have to convert decimals to fractinons, you have to put that decimal over 10, 100, or 1000. Fractions to decimals is easier.

9. Wow.... I thought that I was alone but I'm not.... Ichose fraction to decimals
; ) CMS Gal

10. Hi guys - This is Jim Noble the Maths teacher from Toulouse. Its great to watch your comments pouring in! Thanks so much for voting! Has anyone changed their mind since they voted because of something some else said?

11. Hi Pink Mathematics

It's Miss McLeod from Room 24 in New Zealand here. I'm really looking forward to getting to know you all! I'm convinced that decimals to fractions is easier, for example: 0.68 = 68/100 or 34/50 or 17/25; 0.987654 = 987,654/1,000,000. BUT, I'd love it if someone has a better argument for fractions to decimals. What is your thinking everyone? Go on, convince me.

Miss McLeod

12. Since all rational fractions can be decimalized, but not all decimals can be converted to rational fractions, there seems no easy answer. People who said decimals to fractions was easier should at least have a quick method of converting repeating decimals.... say .034034034.... etc... it is easy, but not as well known.

13. To me, I believe that converting decimals to fractions is much easier because it is easier to ovisualize

14. I think it is easier to convert a fraction to a decimal!

15. Hi Pink Mathmatics
I believe that converting decimals to fractions is easier than converting fractions to decimals but i'd love to see the end results.