This is a repost from 2013, transferred from my previous blog:)
Some students finally got to play Fraction War today!
We again worked on the group problem solving that we started last week (comparing and ordering fractions), and continued with Footloose...also comparing and ordering fractions (click for description of Footloose game). Students finish Footloose at all different times, so the few that did finish today had the opportunity to play Fraction War with the fraction card decks I've made.
I am loving these fraction cards! I made them during the summer, just with the idea of playing "Go Fish," but I also used them for an equivalent fraction sorting activity, and now they are great for playing "War." The kids who played today did a great job deciding which fraction was larger....I asked them to write their work on paper, so I could be sure they weren't guessing, but after a few turns, I could hear them discussing as they found common denominators and made equivalent fraction to compare, or reduced the fractions to compare. They were definitely thinking!
I'm finding that the use of these cards is really helping students' mental math abilities as well as the math conversations that they are having.
Only a few students got to play today, but several of them asked to play during 9th period today (homework/activity period). I'm looking forward to more students playing tomorrow, as the rest of them finish up their Footloose!
Grab this free fraction operations math wheel!
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Use Task Cards in a New Way, to Provide
SelfDifferentiation and Promote Discussion
If you're like me (and so many other teachers), you know that task cards can be used in sooo many ways. From centers to Footloose (or Scoot) to exit tickets to entrance tickets to miniquizzes  the list is long!
However, if you're like me in other ways, you're always looking for something new and different. This year, my "new and different" was to start using task cards to play Truth or Dare in math and language arts classes! To use them this way, some of the task/question cards need to be written as True or False questions, which can make the questions just a little trickier and lead to more indepth thinking. I allow students to discuss the answers after the "official" answer is given, and depending on the question, students end up having great discussions! The Dare questions are a little harder, require more calculation or perhaps more verbal explanation than the Truth cards, and so they are worth more points. (Truth cards are worth one point while Dare cards are worth 2 or 3  I've even thrown in a 4pointer here and there.) What makes this game fun? Well, it's a little different  with the "dare" part in there. Students also don't always know how many points they're going to get to try, so that offers a little excitement. I like the fact that students can choose the type of question they want, so it allows for some selfdetermined differentiation...the choice gives the more hesitant students the chance to feel a little more confident. After creating several paper and pencil Truth or Dare games, my wonderful friend Leah (Secondary Resources for Social Studies & English) suggested that I make a Google classroom version, and I'm so glad I did! It's so easy to use and there's little to no copying needed! (A little copying if I want students to write their work/answers on paper; no copying if I want to share the Truth or Dare game in Edit mode and have students type their answers.) Check out the 2minute video below  it shows how the game works in Edit mode (there are one or two "slow to refresh" spots in the video, so please don't think it's not working:)
Check out this video to learn more about the way the game is played with paper/pencil  in any subject!
You can check out the Truth or Dare games in my TPT store. I hope you can use this game ideait can be used in any subject! P.S. Truth or Dare games (as well as other activities) are also available to play here on my site, as webbased activities. You can check them out here.
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Do your middle school math students like to play math games? Mine do, but over the past few years I've noticed that many of them aren't familiar with some of the games I played when I was a kid, like Yahtzee, for example. So, as we started working on converting fractions and decimals, I decided to create a game to make practicing the conversions more fun AND give them some more game experience! I based it on the idea of Yahtzee:)
Here's how it works: Students roll four dice, and pair the dice up to create "target numbers" that are either decimals or whole numbers.
For example, a student rolls 1, 2, 4, and 6. From these dice, the student may create any two of the following decimal (or whole) numbers:
½ = 0.5 4/1 = 4 ¼ = 0.25 4/2 = 2 1/6 = 0.1666... 4/6 = 0.666... 2/1 = 2 6/1 = 6 2/4 = 0.5 6/2 = 3 2/6 = 0.333... 6/4 = 1.5 Once a player has chosen two target numbers, he or she finds the score by adding the dice that were used for each decimal (or whole number). If the player chose to use 1 and 4 to get 0.25, he or she adds 1 + 4 for a sum of 5 to place in the score column. If the second choice used 2 and 6, to equal either 0.333...or 3, then sum of 8 would go in the appropriate column as the score. On the next roll, this student rolls 1, 1, 3, and 5. This student can pair 1 and 1, to get 1, and pair 3 and 5 to get either 0.6 or 1.666... The score for 1 is 2 (1 + 1) and the score for 0.6 (or 1.666) is 8 (3 + 5). In many cases, students' scores will be the same, but some of the decimals can be found with different combinations of numbers (1 and 3 = 0.333..., and so do 2 and 6, so students could have a score of either 4 or 8). Some students will notice this sum difference and go for the combination that will give them the higher score....bringing in the possibility of using some strategy, for those higher level thinkers. The students have really enjoyed playing this game. They do need a few examples at the start, to understand exactly how the game works, so if you decide to try the game, be prepared to go through a few turns together.
You can create a score sheet like this on your own, or go to TPT and use what I've created. Detailed instructions are included, and a complete answer key of highest and lowest possible scores for each target number are included as well. This is handy to quickly check student score cards as you check in on their games.
If you give it a try, please let me know how it goes!
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Remove One is one of my favorite games! It's a great way to teach probability and the students love it. I've been using it nearly every year since I was introduced to it through a program called the Mathline Middle School Math Project, sponsored by PBS (back in 1997?). I was involved in the program through my graduate studies at Allentown College of Saint Francis DeSales (now DeSales University). Anyway, this year, my student teacher is teaching our probability lessons; so she is the one who taught this lesson.
This is how the lesson works: 1. Students use a piece of paper as their "game board" and number the paper from 122 (or 212) . They then place 15 chips next to the numbers. They are told that they can place one chip next to every number and then place the extras next to any number they want. Or, they can leave some numbers with no chips and put several on others. Usually, they place the chips like those in the picture to the right. 2. Once students have their chips set up, the teacher rolls 2 dice and finds the sum of the numbers that are rolled.
3. If students have a chip next to that sum, the students may remove ONE chip from their paper (thus the name of the game Remove One).
4. Play continues, with the teacher rolling the dice and the students removing one chip each time the corresponding sum is rolled. The "winner" is the student who removes all of the chips first.
Without much class discussion, we play the game a second time. Normally, I just ask them to make some quiet observations to themselves before placing their chips again. Students typically notice that the sums of 6, 7, and 8 are rolled the most often and that 2 and 12 are usually rolled the least often, so they arrange their chips differently.
After the second game, we have a discussion about all of the possible outcomes (sums) one can get when rolling 2 dice. We also discuss how many ways there are to roll each of those outcomes, and what the probability is of rolling each sum. We find this probability in fraction form, and then often convert them to decimals and percents.
After this discussion, we play the game for a third time, and students' "game boards" often look a bit different!
This year, since I was observing rather than teaching, I was better able to hear some of the students' quiet comments to each other... "There's a better chance of getting a seven." "I'm not going to put any on 2, because it still hasn't come up."
When I started discussing this lesson with my student teacher, I searched for the lesson online, just in case it was around, and I found it right away. Click HERE to see the full lesson plan from PBS. Have you played this game? What other probability games do your students enjoy?
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Do your middle school math students like playing math games as much as my 6thgraders do?? If so, they might like playing "Go Fish" to help practice identifying equivalent fractions. This is a great game for 5th grade math as well, and the cards are handy for other activities, like fraction war!)
Playing Go Fish The cards used for this math game are sets of equivalent fractions, so when they play, your math students need to determine whether they have the fraction that's equivalent to the fraction students are "fishing" for. For example, if a student asks for a particular fraction, like 4/6, the other students have to determine whether any of their cards are equivalent to 4/6. Game Instructions: 1. Students play in groups of 3 or 4. 2. Each student is dealt 5  7 cards, and the rest of the deck is placed face down. 3. Player asks another player for a fraction that's equivalent to one in their own hand. If the other player has an equivalent fraction, they give it to the 'asker' and the 'asker' goes again. If they do not, the 'asker' must choose from the pile, and a new player gets to 'go fish.' 4. Once a player has 4 equivalent fraction cards in their hand, they put them down on the playing surface. 5. Play continues until all cards have been used. The winner is the player with the most sets of equivalent fractions. Notes From Playing the Game in My Math Class When we played the other day, the students had a great time and did a really good job. In the first class, I didn't require students to write down the lowest terms of the fractions in their hands, so it took some of them a little longer to rereduce their fractions when another player asked for a certain fraction. These students commented that the game really made them think and that it was good when someone made a mistake, because they were able to recognize that a mistake had been made! Good thinkers!
I required later classes reduce their fractions and record them on notebook paper (hiding their answers from the other players!), and it definitely helped them to play the game more smoothly.
Overall, a successful game! What are your favorite math games?
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Resources to Help Teach and Practice Fraction Concepts

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