“Fractions Operations! What a fun concept to teach.” said no teacher ever. Just kidding! I love teaching fractions operations. Once the students understand fractions conceptually and are fluent in the skills below fractions operations truly are a breeze.
First things first, before starting with fractions operations the students
- should have a lot of experience with visuals representing fractions and mixed numbers and gain conceptual understanding
- should have gained fluency with the multiplication and division facts
- Be able to find the LCM of 2 or more numbers (a little game for this)
- convert mixed numbers to improper fractions and the reverse (a little game for this)
- simplify fractions/find equivalent
That being said, we have been reviewing fractions operations lately and I have been looking for a fun, practical way to practice the algorithms as well as simplify and convert fractions. I didn’t find what I was looking for so I created some game boards with four-in-a-row games inspired by my multi-digit operations ones and they work great. My students love them even as homework.
The idea of the games is that the students roll 2 dice and get a mixed number/fraction from each column to add, subtract, multiply or divide. (different board for each concept) They do the calculations and find the simplified answer on the grid below. They mark it and the first player to get four in a row, horizontally, diagonally, and vertically is the winner.
The students do the calculations on their own draft paper and they write the dice roll numbers on the top for the teacher to check. The students need to have “proof” that they did the calculations. Also, with the students having their calculations organized on a paper you can easily review a few combinations for the whole class or check their work individually. The answers on the grid help them check their work and self-correct.
I have created the google slides versions for all the games for my online students and you can find them below.
These games can be used to play in groups/pairs and compete as to which group will get four in a row first. The students can use the game board as single players and compete with someone else. When students work in groups/pairs they help each other, find each other’s errors, use math vocabulary and strengthen their understanding.
The whole class can compete with students using their own boards kind of like bingo. (we did this a lot at the social distancing times) You can use the game boards as worksheets as well with no stress practice as the answers are there. Give the students a number of problems to solve. You can turn the game into 3 or even 2 in a row for a shorter game.
As you can see these games are for practicing the algorithm and they don’t offer any visual help or scaffolding apart from the answers to self-correct. Depending on which game board you are using the students need to be able to add, subtract, multiply or divide fractions and/or mixed numbers, convert and simplify.
Find the adding fractions game board for free below.
Find the rest of the game boards with the detailed instructions and the print and google slides versions below
If you are looking for ideas and resources to teach/practice fraction operations conceptually with visual activities check out the posts below.
I hope you find these ideas useful.