Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Having Fun with Fractions - seriously!

In fifth grade, we have been doing A LOT with fractions - how to add, subtract, convert to a mixed number, convert to an improper fraction, and compare. This week, we are taking things a step further with the subtraction and working with two fractions that have the same denominator, but the first numerator is LARGER than the second numerator. It looks something like this:


Even this little equation which threw them for a loop at first:

Whenever I share with the class an equation that they have never seen before, I love to first ask, "What would you do?" before I model or explain a solution. Most of the time, we can get to a solution (or two, or three!) and I end up not even teaching it! When a student suggests a strategy, I have him or her walk me through the steps and I model what they say on the board. The other students comment on whether or not they think this is correct, why or why not? Sound familiar? Our math class has morphed into a similar version of Investigations Math. I will pose a problem, and students discuss different ways of solving it. Some of those ways are correct, some are not, but in the end, we all decide on which (correct) way makes the most sense for each of us. Very rarely do I have a classroom full of students who are solving a math problem the exact same way. I LOVE IT! I am thinking about doing a full blown Investigations week with our next concept with posters, markers, and presentations. 

To practice adding and subtracting fractions with like and unlike denominators in a fun way, I created this Earth Day themed game! I always love games because I can work with students one-on-one, if need be, while everyone else is occupied with their learning. Also, I love to watch students help teach each other a concept. There is so much learning going on while I watch a student explain to a friend the way to solve a math equation. I am also doing some learning about each of the students involved in the interaction. 

To begin, each pair of students receive directions, a game board, dice, 2 cubes, and game cards (math task cards).

Students sort the game cards according to the pictures. Then Player One rolls the dice and moves according to the number rolled. Player One chooses a card from the pile that matches the picture he or she landed on. Both students solve the math problem that is on the card on the sheet titled "Work Station". Students then compare answers. If Player One is correct (assuming they are if both partners get the same answer), he/she stays at that place on the board. If he/she is not correct, then they go back to the original space on the board. Be aware of the recycle symbol, you may have to go back one or two spaces! The raindrop signifies a rain shower washed the player ahead one space! 

Students had a lot of fun playing this game and after about 20 minutes, they still did not get through all of the math problems. It was awesome practice and I was able to do my informal assessments of who is successful with what and who needed some one-on-one reteaching. 

It was a lot of fun and of course, this is available in my Teacher Store!

How do you make learning math fun in your classroom? I would love to hear about it!

1 comment:

  1. I love how you ask them how they would solve it before explaining it! That game looks like fun as well -heading over to check it out!