Materials for each student:

  • 2 fraction strip sets [pdf] (so they can make fractions greater than 1).
  • A 0 – 2 number line [pdf] whose 1 unit matches the 1 unit on the fraction strips.
  • A clear plastic sleeve to put the number line inside of (fraction strips can be kept there when not in use, too!).
  • A dry-erase marker (or two, if you’re feeling generous).
  • A way to erase their clear plastic sleeve.
  • A set of fraction playing cards, such as the Everyday Math “Everything Math” cards (link is to purchase 5 decks).

Fraction Strip Games:

Introduction Game: “Show Me”

Materials: Fraction strips

Format: Students work individually or in pairs

Game Play:

The teacher names a fraction and students use their fraction strips to build that fraction: “Show me ____.” The teacher continually walks around the group and confirms with a nod or verbal yes if the fraction is right. If not the teacher says, “try again.” Say yes to equivalent forms of the fraction you asked for.

Start with unit fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/9, 1/10, 1/12, 1/15)

Move into proper fractions (2/3, 2/4, 3/4, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5, 2/6, 3/6, etc.)

Include improper fractions up to 2 (3/2, 4/2, 4/3, 5/3, 6/3, 5/4, 6/4, 7/4, 8/4, etc.)

Extra challenges: show me a fraction that’s more than __, show me a fraction that’s less than ___, show me a fraction that’s equal to ___, etc.

Introduction to Equivalent Fractions: “Show Me 2″

Materials: 2 sets of fraction strips for each student, numberline for each student, numberline and fraction strips for teacher to display on overhead, document camera, projector, or just hold up.

Format: Students working individually or in pairs

Game Play:

The teacher names a fraction and asks students use specific fraction strips to build that same value on the number line: “Show me ____ made out of ____ strips.” The teacher continually walks around the group and confirms with a nod or verbal yes if the fraction is right. If not the teacher says, “try again.”

Start with making 1/2 out of powers of 2 (4ths, 8ths)

Move to making 1/2 out of other even numbers (6ths, 10ths, 12ths)

Then make other unit fractions out of their multiples (1/3 out of 9ths, 12ths, and 15ths, 1/5 out of 10ths and 15ths, etc.)

Then make other proper fractions out of their multiples (2/5 out of 10ths, 2/3 out of 15ths, etc.)

Then make simpler fractions from reducible fractions (10/12 out of 6ths, 2/4 out of halves, 12/15 out of 5ths, etc.)

Finally, make improper fractions (7/5 out of 15ths, 15/12 out of 4ths, etc)

Extra Support: Encourage students to make the identical fraction to yours first, and then line up the strips you requested below it until the lengths are the same.

Extra Challenges: Ask for impossible equivalences, like 1/2 made out of 3rds, or 10/12 made out of 5ths. Ask students to come up with possible and impossible challenges.

Introduction to Adding Fractions with Unlike Denominators: “Show Me 3: Wacky Fractions”

Materials: 2 sets of fraction strips for each student, numberline for each student, numberline and fraction strips for teacher to display.

Format: Students working individually or in pairs

Game Play:

The teacher names 2 fractions and places them one after the other on his number line, for example saying 1/2 and then 2/3, and placing 1 1/2 strip and then 2 1/3 strip (so ending at 7/6): “Ask the students, can you build a fraction the same length as mine, using different strips?” The teacher continually walks around the group and confirms with a nod or verbal yes if the students’ strips are the right total length. If not the teacher says, “try again.”

Then the teacher asks, “Can you build a fraction the same length as mine using only one kind of strip?” (In the given example, the students could use 1/6-strips or 1/12-strips to achieve the task.)

Extra Support: Encourage students to make the identical fraction to yours first, and then swap out strips for equivalent sets in different ways.

Extra Challenge: Ask students to find as many different ways as they can to put strips together to be the exact same length as your strips. Can they find all possible ways?

Introduction to Subtraction Fractions with Unlike Denominators: “Show Me 4: Wacky Fraction Subtraction”

Materials: 2 sets of fraction strips for each student, numberline for each student, plastic sleeves, dry erase markers, numberline and fraction strips for teacher to display.

Format: Students working individually or in pairs

Game Play:

First time through:

  1. Hold up two fractions and ask students, “which is greater?”
  2. Ask, “which will be farther to the right on the number line?”
  3. Ask a volunteer to place one on the number line, and another volunteer to place the second. Ask a third to check the placement. S
  4. Ask students to compare the fractions’ locations: How does the location of ___ compare to the location of ___? To clarify students’ answers ask things like “How much farther to the right?” and “Which direction?”
  5. Have students mark the locations on their number lines, and then use fraction strips to measure the distance between the fractions.

Later rounds:

  1. Say the names of 2 fractions (e.g. 5/6 and 2/6). Have students use fraction strips to locate them on their number lines.
  2. Ask, how does the location of [5/6] compare to the location of [2/6]?
  3. Have students use fraction strips to show that the location of [5/6] compared to the location of [2/6] is [3/6] to the right, e.g. 5/6 – 2/6 = 3/6

Start with fractions with common denominators, then add in fractions with unlike denominators.

Introduction/Estimating Game: “Battleship”

Materials: 1 set of fraction strips, 2 number lines, 2 plastic sleeves, 2 markers, 2 erasers

Format: Students compete against a partner

Game Play:

  1. Player A chooses 3 fractions. She then uses her fraction strips to precisely locate and mark “ships” about 1 inch long at 3 different points on her number line. The center of each ship should be at her chosen fraction. Player A hides her board from her opponents at all times!
  2. Player A tells her opponent the fractions she used to place her ships.
  3. Meanwhile, Player B carefully traces his number line onto his plastic sleeve, including the location of 0, 1, and 2. Once he learns the location of Player A’s ships, he WITHOUT USING FRACTION STRIPS, estimates the location of his opponents’ ships. He makes small dots on his traced number line where he wants to place his “torpedoes”.
  4. Player B hands just his marked plastic sleeve to Player A (removing the paper number line), who carefully overlays the sheets so 0 lines up with 0 and 1 lines up with 1, exactly. Player B gets a point for every torpedo that “hits” i.e. every one of his marks lines up with one of Player A’s ships.
  5. The players switch roles to complete the round. Play for 5 rounds, keeping score totals.

Adjusting the difficulty: Player A can draw larger or smaller ships, which fraction strips are used can be limited, Player A can use fraction strips with different denominators and announce the locations as sums.

Equivalent Fractions Game: “Fraction Taboo”

Materials: 1-2 sets of fraction strips for each team, 1 number line for each team

Format: Students compete in pairs or 2-on-2

Game Play:

  1. Youngest player goes first. The first player uses fraction strips to make a fraction on her number line.
  2. That way of making the fraction is now “taboo”. Player 2 makes a fraction of the same value as Player 1′s, using different fraction strips. Re-ordering Player 1′s strips doesn’t count.
  3. Player 1 then tries to make the same fraction, using a 3rd set of fraction strips.
  4. The last player to be able to represent the fraction in a unique way of representing the fraction wins a point for the round.
  5. Switch who goes first each time, and play a total of 10 rounds.

Equivalent Fractions Game: “Fraction Scattergories”

Materials: Pencil and paper, optional fraction strips and number lines. Timer and a way to display a fraction for the teacher.

Format: Students working individually

  1. Teacher writes a fraction. Each student has 15 seconds to silently write an equivalent fraction.
  2. When the timer goes off, students raise their hands (just the pencil hand or both hands). Call on students with their hands up to share the fraction they wrote.
    • If anyone has the same fraction all students with that fractions put their hands down.
    • If anyone challenges that that fraction is not equivalent, they say “Challenge” and show on the number line, with fraction strips, why they disagree. Then they show how they could make an equivalent fraction using either the same numerator or the same denominator.
  3. Continue calling on students whose hands are up until every unique fraction has been shared.

Scoring:

  • If two or more students had the same fraction, they get 1 point each.
  • If students had a unique equivalent fraction, they get 3 points.
  • Students whose fractions aren’t equivalent get 0 points.
  • If a student successfully challenges a non-equivalent fraction they get 2 points, plus 2 more if they can make an equivalent fraction with the same numerator or denominator.

Introduction to Common Denominators Game: “Double Trouble”

Materials: fraction strips and number lines for each student, a way for the teacher to display 2 fractions (with or without strips and number lines)

Format: Students working in pairs or individually

Game Play:

Teacher writes 2 fractions with different denominators. Each student has writes or makes with fraction strips two equivalent fractions, one for each of the fractions shown.

Teacher circulates, indicating silently if students earned 1 point, 2 points, 4 points, or need to try again.

Scoring

  • 1 point for each fraction, if it’s equivalent to the given fraction.
  • 2 additional bonus points if both equivalent fractions have the same denominator (for a maximum of 4 points per round).
  • Example: you write ½ and 2/5. A student would get 1 point for writing 2/4 and 4/7,  2 points for writing 2/4 and 4/10, and 4 points for writing 10/20 and 8/20 (or 5/10 and 4/10, but they don’t have to be in lowest terms).

Counting with Fractions Activity: “Count Around”

Materials: Fraction strip set for each student, 0 – 10 number line [pdf]

Format: Whole group, standing in a circle

  1. Choose a unit fraction to count by (halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, ninths, tenths, twelfths, or fifteenths).
  2. Students bring the strips from the appropriate unit fraction with them and stand in a circle.
  3. Assemble the 0-10 number line and place it in the center of the circle.
  4. One by one, students say the name of the fraction and place their fraction strip on the number line as they count by thirds, fifths, etc. They might count 1 third, 2 thirds, 3 thirds, 4 thirds, 5 thirds, etc. or they might count 1 third, 2 thirds, 1, 1 and 1 third, 1 and 2 thirds, etc.

Extra Challenges: Stop students randomly and ask them to say the number they’re on as a mixed number and as a fraction. Stop students randomly and ask “what number will ______ say next?” Stop students randomly and ask “Who will say 7/3?” or “Who will say 2 1/3?”

Converting Mixed Numbers Game: “Fraction Towers”

I just read this neat blog post from the “Exit 10A” blog by Joe Schwartz, and it seemed like a good addition to this collection: http://exit10a.blogspot.com/2014/02/building-towers.html

Converting Mixed Numbers Game: “Pin the Fraction on the Number Line (whole-group version)”

Materials: fraction strips, 0 – 10 number line, game pieces (e.g. pennies, post-in notes, pencils, whatever you can find)

Format: Whole group

Game Play:

  1. Teacher names a fraction, in “improper” form between 0 and 10.
  2. Each student takes a turn placing their game piece where they think the fraction is on the number line.
  3. Teacher uses fraction strips to measure out to the target number, with everyone counting along as they place the strips.
  4. Whoever’s game piece was closest becomes “teacher” for the next round.

Converting Mixed Numbers Game: “Jump Around”

Materials: tape

Format: Whole group

Game Play:

  1. Get the kids to help you tape out a giant 0-10 number line in the hallway, cafeteria, classroom, or outdoors (chalk works outdoors). The 1/2 should be about the length that the worst jumper can jump.
  2. Kids wait in line for their turn*. On each kid’s turn, say a mixed number and a unit fraction. The kid tells you how many unit fraction jumps they think it will take to get to the target (example, you choose 3 and 2/7 and ask, “How many 7ths will it take to get to 3 and 2/7?” The kid predicts 24, and says “24 sevenths.”)
  3. Then the kid jumps/steps that many jumps of the target size, and you see if they wound up where they were supposed to. (Example, the kid jumps or steps 24 1/7-size jumps and sees if they made it to 3 and then 2 more sevenths. In this case, they went too far because 24/7 = 3 3/7, not 3 2/7).
  4. If their prediction was right, they get back in line. If not, they sit out until the next round. Last one up is the winner.**

*If the kids are too jumpy to wait in line, have them go find and stand by the target number for each person’s turn, and give a thumbs up or down if they think the jumper is right. They can revise their thumbs up/down as they person gets closer.

**If it’s getting too easy for the last remaining jumpers, give them the challenge of converting to equivalent fractions and converting between mixed and improper fractions, for example by asking for things like 25/3 in 9ths. If it’s still too easy, give them addition problems, for example asking them to predict how many jumps of size 1/6 it would take go 2 1/2 and then 4 1/3. Another sort of challenge is to have them jump by fractions other than unit fractions, such as asking “How many 2/3 – size jumps will it take to get to 4?”

Fraction Card Games:

Comparing Game: “I Declare Fraction War”

Materials: 1 set of fraction cards, 1 set of fraction strips (for settling disputes) and a number line.

Format: Students compete in pairs or 2-on-2

Game Play:

  1. Divide the deck evenly between the 2 players. Players don’t look at their cards.
  2. Each student turns over the top fraction card.
  3. The player with the greatest fraction will win that round and collect that set of cards. If students aren’t sure, they model the fractions with their fraction strips to see which is further on the number line.
  4. If two players show cards with the same value (even if they look different, e.g. 1/2 and 4/8), then a round of “Declare War” must be played.
    • Players in a war round must take three cards and place them face down from the top of their decks. A fourth card should be taken from the deck and placed face up.
    • The highest value card wins and that player may take all of the cards used in the declare war round, as well as the cards that created the “Declare War” round.
  5. Winning the game:
    • Short version: Play each round as usual; however, keep the cards won from others in a separate pile. After the last round, determine a winner by picking the player with the most cards.
    • Long version: Play each round as usual, but add the cards won from each round to the bottom of your face down deck. Play until one player has all of the cards.

Equivalent Fractions Game: “SlapFrac”

Materials: fraction cards

Format: Students working in groups of 4 (best if within each group students are at the same skill level with quickly spotting equivalent fractions)

Game Play:

  1. Shuffle, then deal out the cards so everyone has the same number (13 each for 4 players). Players DO NOT look at their cards.
  2. Take turns going around and putting your top card face up on top of the pile. Turn your card away from yourself so you are not the first to see your card.
  3. If the fraction placed on top is equivalent to the one right below it then whoever spots that and slaps the pile first takes the whole pile.
  4. If you slap incorrectly, you have to give one of your cards to the player who played the card you slapped (if you played it, put an extra card on the pile).
  5. Winner is the first to have all the cards.

Estimation and Ordering Game: “Pin the Fraction on the Number Line (partners version)”

Materials: fraction cards, number line, fraction strips, plastic sleeve, dry erase markers, erasers

Format: Students working in pairs

Game Play:

Cooperative version: Each partner randomly draws five cards. Without using fraction strips, mark the location of your five fractions on the number line as precisely as you can. Then trade with your partner who will use fraction strips to check your work.

Competitive Version: like Battleship, one student uses strips to accurately place 5 fractions randomly drawn from the deck on her choosing number line, making “ships” or zones about 1 inch long. The opponent, working without strips, traces his number line and estimates the location of the fractions on his blank number line. Then, he hands his plastic sleeve to his partner who lines it up with hers and announces the score: he get 2 points for getting all the fractions in the right order, and 1 point for each fraction in “the zone”. Switch roles to finish the round.

Converting Mixed Numbers Game: “BS”

Materials: fraction cards, fraction strips

Format: Students competing in groups of 3 – 6

Game Play:

  1. Players dump all their fractions strips in a pile in the center, close their eyes, and using one finger, take turns selecting 10 strips from the pile. Students hide their 10 from the other students. When the last student has picked, she tells the other students to open their eyes. The remaining strips are put away.
  2. “Dealer” chooses 2 cards from the deck, one a whole number and one a fraction, and shows them to all the other players.
  3. Starting on the dealer’s left, and going clockwise, players take turns discarding fraction strips of the same denominator. The rules:
    • you can only discard a set of strips whose total value is less than the cards the dealer turned up.
    • You must say your discard in the form of a mixed number.
  4. If someone thinks what you said doesn’t match what you played, or that what you played is not less than the target, they can call BS. If they’re right, you have to take the entire pile into your hand. If they’re wrong, they have to take the entire pile into their hand.
  5. The winner is the first person to discard all their strips.

Converting Mixed Numbers Game: “Sealed Bids”

Materials: fraction cards, pencil/pen, scrap paper, number line and fraction strips (optional, for checking)

Format: Students playing in groups of 3 – 6

Game Play:

  1. Dealer selects 2 cards from the deck, one whole number and one fraction. The dealer says the name of the mixed number she has created, and then the type of fraction strip involved. E.g. if she turns over a 2 and a 2/3, she says “Two and two thirds, the fraction strip is thirds.”
  2. Each student, including the dealer, writes on their scrap paper how many of the strips it will take to get out to the mixed number on the number line.
  3. The dealer opens the bids and reads them all. If they all agree, they win the round. If they disagree, they have to convince each other and come to an agreement, using fraction strips and number lines.
  4. The goal is to win 10 rounds in a row.

Adding Fractions: “Wacky Fractions”

Materials: fraction cards, number lines, fraction strips

Format: Students working in pairs

Pairs of students pull 2 cards from the fraction cards pack. They model the fractions on the cards using fraction strips, then put them together, sequentially, on the number line. Then below that they use only one kind of fraction strip to make the exact same length. E.g. if the students pull 1/2 and 1/3, they put a 1/2 strip and a 1/3 strip next to each other on the number line, and then use either five 1/6-strips or ten 1/12-strips to make the same distance.

Adding Fractions: “Fraction Addition War”

Materials: fraction cards

Format: Students competing in pairs (one one one)

Just like regular “I Declare War” except that students pull two cards from their fraction decks and whoever has the highest sum keeps all four cards.

Subtracting Fractions: “Wacky Fraction Subtraction”

Materials: fraction cards, number lines, fraction strips

Format: Students working in pairs

Pairs of students pull 2 cards from the fraction cards pack. They model the fractions on the cards using fraction strips, then put them together, sequentially, on the number line. Then below that they use only one kind of fraction strip to make the exact same length. E.g. if the students pull 1/2 and 1/3, they put a 1/2 strip and a 1/3 strip next to each other on the number line, and then use either five 1/6-strips or ten 1/12-strips to make the same distance.