Egyptian Fractions

 When the Ancient Egyptians divided up land as an inheritance, they used what we now call ‘unitary’ fractions  -   etc - to do so.

So, for example,  wasn’t thought of as being ‘3 lots of one quarter’, but rather as ‘

Someone who owned three quarters of a field simply owned a half of it and a further quarter.

 They always used the largest ‘unitary’ fraction possible before adding on whatever extra bit was needed. So, no repetitions like      or     

Now, some fractions are simple to express in this way, and others are more complex:

      and                      whereas        

The Problem: 

A nice group of fractions to describe in Egyptian terms are those with a ‘numerator’ of 2 … 

Try rewriting      in Egyptian style.

You should find a pattern in your answers that will help you work out the answer to   fairly quickly !

Open the File as a Word Document


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Last modified: June 18, 2007