Fractions and the Family Tree

In the Christopherus Fifth Grade Mathematics guide, Donna Simmons recommends completing a family tree as a way to review fractions.  We started our fifth grade math block yesterday and have been working on my fifth grader Teal’s family tree.  Teal discovered that she is 1/16 Australian, 1/32 Swedish, and 1/64 Danish.  She has also enjoyed learning the names of her ancestors: lots of Kenneths, Williams, Roberts, and Annies.

Many years ago when I was in college,  I went to a family history center and tracked a line of my ancestors that goes back to about 800 A.D.  (800 AD! Really!)  It was so fun to pull out those pedigree charts yesterday and lay them across the table (and chair!) with Teal’s name at the beginning. 


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Doubling the denominator each generation back, we calculated that Teal is 1/23,330,816 royalty because one of her ancestors is Edward III, King of England.  (Edward III’s mother was a princess of France, too, so Teal kept strutting around talking about her French princess blood.)

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My second grader was enthralled with this activity and I thought I had really impressed him until he said, “Just think of the lucky kid whose ancestor was Alexander the Great.”

Have a great day!

Mrs. Mallard

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