So I have been doing a bit of research on teaching fractions using games lately and I have discovered a great game (adapted from one I found in a textbook) that has offered so many teachable moments, and really helps with developing conceptual understanding as well as competency with fractions procedures.
The game I am talking about is Colour in Fractions. I found this game in its original form at the end of Clarke, Roche, and Mitchell’s article 10 Practical Tips for Making Fractions Come Alive and Make Sense. I changed it (only slightly) so that it made sense in the context of my lesson, and I have used it again in different contexts too. So here’s how it works!
Game Board (you can find a copy of it here, I laminated mine so that it can be reused),
A normal 6 sided dice,
Whiteboard or coloured markers (do not use permanent markers)
A sock (for cleaning the board off after you have used it).
How to Play:
1. Each player will begin with one game board and a marker.
2. Taking turns, each player will roll the dice twice to create a fraction. This can be differentiated based on students’ ability and learning goals. You can create the fraction in the following ways;
- Use the two numbers to create a proper fraction, regardless of the order the numbers were rolled,
- Use the two numbers to create a fraction in the order they were rolled – this will produce both proper and improper fractions.
3. When the fraction has been identified, the player will colour in this fraction on the game board. This can be done in any way that you like, so if half is created, the student might colour in 1/2, 2/4, or 3/6. If a player cannot colour in their fraction on their board, they will pass their turn to the other player.
4. The first player to fill their board will win.
Changing it up…
You can change up this version of the game to highlight the size of different fractions by having the players colour in what is left out of a whole. So for example the player rolls 1/4, the player needs to figure out what will make a whole (so 3/4) and colour this in instead.
Why it works
The student is having fun, and they are using their fractions in context. I played this game with a grade six student who thought it would be boring, but the student was begging to play it again, because it is fun! The game is a great warm-up activity to use prior to problem solving in a lesson. It gets the students thinking and reasoning in a fractional sense.
You can discuss your key questions when you are playing the game… for example – “So what other parts of the board might you be able to fill in with this fraction?” “Why did you colour in that fraction? How do you know you are right?” Give students the opportunity to reason their answers, and they will show not only that they can identify fractions, but they will be developing deeper understandings of those fractions as they play.
You can cater the game to the needs of your students.
Students might be working on improper fractions – you can make sure their fractions are created using the lowest number rolled as the denominator.
Students might be working on concepts relating to the size of a fraction – you can make sure they discuss the equivalent size of the fractions to each other, or you can make the students use the remaining fraction (that is left over from what was rolled on the dice).
So what are your tried and true fractions games?
I have started a board on pinterest to start collecting! Please share with me in the comments, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.🙂