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Fraction Switch is a challenging game that gives students mental agility when dealing with fractions. Even though the cards are drawn by chance, it takes strategy to figure out where numbers can be changed out in numerators or denominators to ensure that the final result is three fractions ordered from least to greatest. Notice that the face cards have been taken out of the deck. You may want to give students plenty of scratch paper to help them as they are playing the game.
For some fractions it will be obvious to them which is larger. For example, 1/7 is smaller than 1/2. Also, 2/3 is greater than 1/3. Where it may not be clear to them is with fractions such as 5/6 and 7/8, which is larger? This may not be immediately apparent but when they change the fractions to 20/24 and 21/24 respectively then it's apparent that 7/8 or 21/24 is larger.
Another adaptation of this game is to use the face cards to represent the number 10. In other words, if either a Queen, Jack, or King is selected, that card would represent 10. Another interesting challenge is to use points to score the game. If each correct sequence of three ordered fractions yields a score of 5 points, then add 2 points every time there's a fraction made up from one suit of cards, such as a 2 of diamonds in the numerator with a 4 of diamonds in the denominator. In this way, even kids that don't win an entire sequence will make points for a fraction. This will introduce more strategy into the game as well since students will be trying to think of ways to construct the fractions from the same suit of cards.
Play this game with teams to try something different in a classroom setting. Have three members on each team and have each student be responsible for just one fraction. This will create a lot of lively discussions among students in terms of which fraction is greater..a great cooperative learning strategy!
Common Core Mathematical Standard
3.NF Develop understanding of fractions as numbers.
4.NF Extend understanding of fractional equivalence and ordering.
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