Online games to support maths development have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, teachers and parents have always made and used paper-based resources too, often sharing ideas. According to educationalist Lorna M. Campbell, reusing and repurposing ideas is common practice in education. If you spot a good idea for a fractions maths game, use it to make your own games.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- A4 paper (or preferably card)
- Felt pen
Take inspiration from the BBC and make a fractions comparison game. (Please see Ref. 2). Theirs is an online game but you can make a similar game, and many others, on paper. Begin by folding a piece of A4 paper into half lengthwise.
Fold the paper in half again at 90 degrees to the first fold. Then fold the paper in half again in the same way as the second fold. Open out the paper and you will have eight rectangles.
Write an “eighth” fraction on each rectangle with a felt pen. Use the fractions: 1/8, 2/8, 3/8, 4/8, 5/8, 6/8, 7/8 and 8/8. Cut along the fold lines with scissors to make cards.
Follow the same procedure with another piece of A4 paper but this time make cards bearing the fractions: 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 1/2, 2/2, 1 (whole) and a joker card. The joker card can be any fraction a player wants.
Shuffle the cards and deal them all out, one by one, to yourself and an opponent. Look at your cards in secret. Play a card and say “higher,” “lower” or “same value.”
Explain to your opponent that she has to play a card showing a higher, lower or equal value fraction accordingly. When she has played a card correctly, she is allowed to say “higher,” “lower” or “equal value.” Then it is your turn to play again.
Tell your opponent that if either of you can’t play, the other can play again. Any disputes about the comparative values of fractions should be resolved with friendly and educational discussion. The winner is the one who plays all their cards first.
Shuffle the cards and place them in a pile face down. Draw the top card and place it face upwards. Read out the fraction.
Tell your opponent she must predict whether the next card turned over will be higher, lower, or of equal value. When she has made her prediction, turn over the card to see if the prediction was correct. If so, she gets to make another prediction.
Take a turn at making a prediction yourself when your opponent predicts incorrectly. Continue the game until all the cards have been used. The player who made the longer correct run of predictions is the winner.
Make a similar set of eight cards, four with “+” signs and four with “-” signs. Shuffle these and place them next to the other stack. Make sure both stacks are face down.
Ask your opponent to pick up a fraction card and turn it over. Ask her to pick up a plus or minus card and turn that over to see whether she needs to do an addition or subtraction calculation. Now she should pick up another fraction card.
Tell your opponent she must correctly add the fractions or subtract the smaller fraction from the larger one. Sometimes two fractions of the same value will be drawn along with a minus card but this just adds more fun. If your opponent makes a mistake in her answer, she must have another go. If she is correct, it is your turn.
Tips and warnings
- Make more cards with other fractions, such as thirds, fifths and sevenths to add further educational value to the games.
- You can get plenty of ideas from educational websites. Please see Resources section.
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