# A first-grade math homework question

I found this a few years ago in my kid's first grade math homework:

Analysis: How does identifying the equal shares in circles and rectangles help you think about why shapes are partitioned?

This was phrased in such a convoluted way that it took me a few minutes just to parse what was being asked. But, leaving aside the general clumsiness of the question, is there a rational part of it that could be answered in a meaningful way, or do you think it's complete garbage?

• I think it's as simple as: Because equal partitions allow for equal sharing. Some shapes (e.g., circles and rectangles) allow for easy equal partitions. – quasi Dec 20 '17 at 20:29
• @quasi But isn't that kind of a tautology? – Alexander Burstein Dec 20 '17 at 20:31
• At the first grade level, that's probably what they want. For the student to recognize the practical value of symmetry. – quasi Dec 20 '17 at 20:32
• @quasi Yeah, maybe. – Alexander Burstein Dec 20 '17 at 20:34
• I hope the question poser had the underlying idea of getting the first-graders to see that counting (equal area partitions) is easier than estimating area. It would tie in nicely with followup concepts (especially my favourite, using math as a tool, rather than just winging it/estimating everything/learning details by rote; and wielding math is less effort). – Nominal Animal Dec 20 '17 at 22:09