Old Egyptian Math Cats

Old Egyptian Math Cats knew fractions like  1/2  or  1/4 
(one piece of a pie).

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

Old Egyptian Math cats
never repeated the same
fraction when adding.

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

Add fractions like a true Old Egyptian Math Cat!

Choose puzzles from the list on the left. ( *  = easier,  ****  = very hard.)
Add 2 or 3 fraction pieces below.
After you find one solution, the puzzle is marked "Solved."  
Can you find more solutions? (Click to see them listed on the right.)

~ This  fraction pie tool  can help you! ~
+ + =
+ + =

Ancient Egyptians really did write fractions this way!

Instead of writing  2/5, they wrote  1/3  +  1/15.  For  2/7, they wrote  1/4  +  1/28.
Some of the fractions were very complicated.
For  2/29, they wrote  1/24  +  1/58  +  1/174  +  1/232 !

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!

part of the Rhind papyrus

You can learn more about Egyptian fractions through the links below. Each will open in a new window. Close the window to return to Math Cats.
(These pages are for "older cats"!)

Egyptian Fractions (with fraction calculators and lots of information)
The Rhind Papyrus 2/N Table
Egyptian Fractions (with many links)
Egyptian Fraction - from Eric Weisstein's MathWorld
The Horus Eye

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.