Adding and Subtracting Fractions Game: Mid Week Math Motivation

Hello friends!  I'm back with a little Mid Week Math Motivation, and a game students can play to practice Adding or Subtracting Fractions.

Here are the materials you will need to play:

Fraction bars:  1 whole, halves, thirds, quarters, sixths, eighths, twelfths, and sixteenths.
(You should have enough pieces to create a whole for each)
Fraction dice with the following numbers: 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/12 and 1/16
If you don't have fraction dice you can cut out address labels to fit your dice and write the numbers on, or find circle stickers.  I found these chalkboard dice at the target dollar spot in the fall, and I used a chalkboard paint marker to write what I need on them for centers.

If you don't have fraction bars you could go [HERE] and grab a Free set of them, and have your students color in the pieces different colors (or print out the colored Freebie), or you could have your students create a fraction kit using different colors of construction paper.  I use both when we play this game.  The fraction bars that are the freebie I use when we are in class playing the game in small groups.  I have the cards printed on card stock and I laminate them.  Usually I keep 8 sets so that I can have two groups of four playing at the same time.  Some of my smarties need the addition practice, while others are ready to move on to subtraction.  I also put magnets on the set so  students can use them as manipulatives on our magnetic wall.  

I have my students create the construction paper set in class with me.  The pieces are larger, and don't tend to get lost as easily.  We keep the pieces in a ziploc bag then a pocket in our interactive notebooks because I use them for more than just this game.

It is easiest to begin this game by everyone doing the same thing at the same time.  This way you can guide students who are struggling developmentally with understanding the equivalence of the fractions.  I use a gradual release concept the day that I do this, so my students who gain understanding quickly can get started playing each other.  

Adding Fractions Game: COVER UP
Start with your 1 whole strip.  Your goal is to cover your one whole strip completely, without going over.  Take turns rolling the cube and take the fraction you roll and place it on your whole strip.
For example. if I roll a 1/4, I would take my 1/4 strip and place it over the one whole strip.  Play continues until the first person completely fills up their strip.  Students are allowed to "trade out" their equivalent strips as they go.  So for example, if a student has a 1/4 strip, then a 1/6, if the student rolls a 1/3 he/she could trade out the 1/3 strip for 2-- 1/6 pieces.  Then they could also see that 3 1/6 pieces can are as large as 1/2, so they can trade up again.  Here are a few picks of my students trading.  One rolled 3 1/12 pieces during his turn.  Once he put them together, he realized he could trade up the 3 1/12 pieces for a 1/4 piece. 

The whole purpose is getting really good at understanding equivalent fractions.  This is a hands on way for students to find a common denominator.  Once students are comfortable with equivalent fraction trading, have them begin to use a dry erase board to write a numeric equivalent fraction, and then eventually an addition equation. If a student rolls the die and cannot go, he/she loses their turn, and must wait for their turn to roll again.
The winner is the first person to completely cover their fraction strip exactly. 

Subtracting Fractions Game
To practice subtraction, begin with your whole fraction strip covered with two halve pieces.  Take turns rolling the cube, and taking off (subtracting) that fraction.  You will have to exchange the pieces first, so it is a perfect formative way to make sure your students are understanding equivalent fractions (or finding a common denominator).  For example, if I roll a 1/8 on my cube.  I would need to exchange one of my 1/2 pieces for 4/8s in order to subtract one 1/8.  Again, if a student rolls the die and cannot make an exchange, he/she loses their turn, and must wait for another turn to roll again. The winner is the first player to uncover his/her whole piece exactly.

Need to Enrich or Extend?  
1) Have students play in pairs and combine their kits so that have to begin with an improper fraction.
2) See who can create the largest covered fraction within 4 turns, or who can uncover the most pieces.

My class really loved playing this game and it was a great way for my learners to get a hands on experience with equal fractions, and gain a deeper understanding.

Have a great rest of the week my friends!

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