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Monday, February 2, 2015


Most middle school students cringe at the word "fractions". The do not fully understand the world of fractions and what it has to offer the mathematical community. The operations of fractions are hard to understand and the students just have to remember the rules of fractions.

We do not want the students repeat the rules, but apply the rules to real fractions. No middle school students like to sit at their desk all day and use a pencil and paper to solve equation after equation of fractions applying the rules, but to get up and move around. 

As I was suffering the internet to come up with some ideas for games that could use the operations of fractions, I came across this blog post from a teacher who applied a great game for her students to review fraction operations. Fractionopoly

This game could be applied at the end of a lesson in which the students know the operations. This is a great tool in which the students can work at their own pace, but also need to remember the rules to solve the equations quickly. 

You can also apply this game to earlier/later lessons in the year with addition, subtraction, multiplication of integer and decimals. 

I was thinking of a game that had to do with fractions with a simple 52 card deck. 

Fractional War

object of the game: the students will be able to recognize what fractions (mixed and non-mixed) is the smallest. 

1. a deck of cards for each pair of students 

How to play: 
1. Each player will turn over two cards. 
       The first card will be the numerator. 
        The second card will be the denominator.
2. The player with the smallest simple fraction wins that hand. 
3. The player who collects all the cards wins! 

1. The fractions will have to be reduced to the simplest fraction. 
Example: If student #1 has 3/9 and student #2 has 6/12. Then student #1 wins because 3/9 is reduce-able to 1/3 which is smaller than 1/2. 

2. If there is a tie with the fractions: have the students draw another two cards. Whoever wins between the new two cards wins all the cards in that hand. 

A teacher could create new cards with all the operation signs on them. The students would first have to flip one of those up before they flip up their two cards. What ever the operation is, the students would have to do that operation with the two fractions that they created. Whoever comes up with an answer has to hit the table and say the answer. If the answer is correct, they win that hand! 

How do you know a game is good or bad for the concept you would like to teach?
I believe a math game should be able to connects many of the common core standards all into a single game. Also, a game can be built upon to new ideas and concepts. A game will have the students discover different ideas about one concept and then they are able to remember how they came up with ideas because they had a fun and interactive way of discovering the ideas. I believe good games should be open ended. What do I mean about "open ended"? The students are not looking for one answer and check to see if that is the answer the teacher got, but they are able to get different answers by going through the game in many directions. All games are fun to students even if you are a senior in high school. The students will remember more if they discovered it on their own in a fun away. 


  1. I'm not so keen on Fractionopoly. Better than nothing, but it's a quiz. Ooh! What if the board game had denominators to buy, and people had to pay you when their problems worked out to your denominator? (Just brainstorming.)
    The war is a good one. We'll play something similar with pattern blocks. You don't even have to require the reducing, students will do it naturally.

    clear, coherent, complete, content +
    consolidated - maybe a summary paragraph talking about why games for you, or criteria for a good game?

  2. By the way, suffering the internet is a great new phrase.