# Missing Curious Fraction Problems

The Unknown Inheritance and the Unknown Number of Heirs
• Maria T. Sanz
• Bernardo Gómez
Chapter
Part of the ICME-13 Monographs book series (ICME13Mo)

## Abstract

In this paper we present a study of one of the best-known types of descriptive word fraction problems. These problems have disappeared from today’s textbooks but are hugely important for developing arithmetic thinking. The aim of this paper is to examine the historical solution methods for these problems and discuss the analytical readings suggested by the authors. On the basis of this analysis we have conducted a preliminary study of the performance of 35 Spanish students who are highly trained in mathematics. Our results show that these students have a preference for algebraic reasoning, are reluctant to use arithmetic methods, and have reading comprehension difficulties that are reflected in their translations, from literal language to symbolic language, of the relationship between the parts expressed in the problem statement.

## Keywords

History and mathematics education Descriptive word fraction problems Resolution methods Student performance

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