Suggestions for Using Fraction Bars Games
The students shown in the following game are placing Fraction Bars on number lines mats that are labeled with fractions and mixed numbers. This activity models addition of fractions by placing shaded amounts end-to-end.
There are 34 games at the end of Grades 3-4 Fraction Bars Teacher's Guide that are arranged in order by seven concepts (see list of Fraction Bars games). These games reinforce and expand the activities presented in the Teacher’s Guide. They provide an excellent opportunity for students to discuss fraction concepts and develop strategies. Specific suggestions for using these games are contained in the following paragraphs.
The individual games can be copied and laminated and placed in a card file for student use. Another method of storage is placing the games in small booklets, as shown in the following photo.
Photo courtesy of Herb Moyer
One teacher made large pockets for storing the game mats and game directions on the classroom wall, as shown below.
Class tournaments for a particular game can be organized by the teacher or the students.
A common practice for introducing some of the games is to make transparencies of the game mats, such as FRACTION BARS BINGO, 5-BARS and SMALL STEP RACE, for demonstrations at the overhead. If the teacher plays against the class, this gives students a chance to discuss the strategies suggested by others.
One teacher assigned each student a different game to play with all the other students. A large grid with the names of the students on the left edge and the names of the games across the top was posted on the wall. As the games were played the students recorded their initials in the boxes of the grid to show which students had played a particular game. In this grid Abby was assigned the game MATCH and played this game with 18 students and the teacher as shown by the initials opposite her name.
Some teachers will have the students play the games when their class work is finished. Occasionally a special game period can be declared, like a Friday afternoon.
If the games are played early in the school year, then later during the study of fractions, experiences from the games can be called upon to illustrate equality, inequality, and the four operations with fractions.
As students become familiar with strategies for the games, they can write and "publish" class reports (see Writing About Fractions) with explanations and diagrams of their favorite strategies. Some students may create their own game as shown below.
The following game was created by Kelly, a student in Mr. Schiot's fifth grade class. Students often revise familiar card games and adapt them to games which require the deck of Fraction Playing Cards or the Fraction Bars. Kelly's game is similar to a game of solitaire. The players match pairs of equal fractions from the five face-up cards, the face-down cards in the deck, or the cards in their hand which they have obtained from previous matches. Your students may enjoy this game or may wish to revise it and/or rename it.
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