But to make fractions like 3/4, they had to add pieces of pies like 1/2 + 1/4 = 3/4.

They never wrote: 1/4 + 1/4 + 1/4 = 3/4

How do we know about Egyptian fractions? The written record goes all the way back to 1650 B.C.: the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus contains a table of Egyptian fractions copied from another papyrus 200 years older. Ancient Egyptians needed to understand a lot of complex mathematics to create a table like this. We know they used this system for over 2,000 years... but we don't know why!

Old Egyptian Math Cats Fractions © copyright 2003 - by Wendy Petti of Math Cats & Maurici Carbó Jordi of Nummolt. Old Egyptian Math Cat image (drawn for Math Cats) © copyright 2003 - by Boni Cordoba Matos. All rights reserved.