By Michael Hartley
You'll find that there are actually three types of cards in the pack.
- First, there are blue cards with all the fractions with denominators 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12 and 15. Well, not all the fractions, of course! Just those between zero and one.
- Then, there are red cards, with all the same fractions.
- Finally, there are some "wild" cards, in both red and blue.
Well, with a set of fraction cards, there's a bunch of math fraction games you could teach your kids to play.
- If you leave out the wild cards, you'll have a set of 98 cards. You could use them to play games like Snap! or Memory!. Because the pack contains cards like the one shown here (equivalent to one half, but written as two quarters), this will give your children good practice reducing fractions.
However, when I made these cards, I was thinking of a more complex game (still simple enough) that will help teach kids how to add and subtract fractions too!
So here it is...
- To make sets of cards which add up to 1.
- For example, 1/2 + 2/4 is a set. So is 2/15 + 1/2 + 1/6 + 2/10 a set.
At the start...
- Give each player a piece of paper and a pencil.
- Shuffle the cards, and deal 6 cards to each player.
- Place the rest of the cards face down on the table. This is the draw pile
On each player's turn...
- The player draws two cards. These two cards can be both from the draw pile, or both from the discard pile (see below), or one from each.
- If a player has a set of cards that adds up to 1, they should take the set out of their hand, and place it face up in front of them. At the end of the round, they'll get points for each set they make.
- The player can use their paper and pencil to work out sums if he or she likes. However, calculators and outside help is forbidden!
- If a player did not make a set, the player must discard one card face-up onto the discard pile (next to the draw pile).
The end of a round...
- When a player finishes all his or her cards, the round is over.
- All the other players give their cards to that person (but they keep the 'sets' they have already laid on the table).
- Points are awarded as follows :
- Each card is worth the sum of the numerator and the denominator. So the card with 3/5 would be worth 8 points, and 2/10 would be worth 12 points.
- 'Wild' cards are worth 1 point each.
- The round can also end if there are no more cards to draw. Then, each player just gets the points for the 'sets' they have laid out in front of them.
- The X of the wild card can count as any positive whole number, but not equal to the denominator.
- So X/15 could be 3/15, or 8/15, or 2/15.
- However, it can't be (2.5)/15 or 15/15, or 0/15.
- Remember, at the end of the round, wild cards are only worth 1 point!
- Just suppose...
- Larry has the cards 1/2, 1/5 and 2/15
- Harry has the cards 3/4, 1/6 and 1/10
- Carrie has the cards 8/10, 1/3 and 1/4.
- Suppose he draws 2/3 and 7/12.
- He thinks and thinks, but can't see any sets. (I suppose he needs more fractions practice.) Anyway, he discards his 1/5.
- So, at the end of Larry's turn,
- Larry has the cards 1/2, 2/15, 2/3 and 7/12.
- Harry still has the cards 3/4, 1/6 and 1/10,
- Carrie still 8/10, 1/3 and 1/4, and
- the card 1/5 is at the top of the discard pile, and
- it's Harry's turn.
- Now, suppose Harry draws 3/12 and 7/15 from the draw pile.
- After some thought, he realises that 3/4 + 3/12 = 1, so he lays them on the table to make a set.
- He doesn't have to discard a card since he made a set. He decides not to (although if he had wanted to, he could).
- So, after Harry's turn,
- Larry has the cards 1/2, 2/15, 2/3 and 7/12.
- Harry has two cards in his hand, 1/10 and 1/6. He also has a set (3/4 and 3/12) on the table.
- Carrie still has 8/10, 1/3 and 1/4.
- The discard pile is still showing 1/5.
- Now, it's Carrie's turn.
- She realises that she can use the 1/5 that Larry threw away, so she takes it.
- She also draws - lucky her - a wild X/12 from the draw pile!
- So she makes two sets... 8/10 + 1/5, and 1/3 + 1/4 + X/12 (with the X being 5). And she's finished all her cards!
- So, the round is over.
- Poor Larry gives all his cards to Carrie.
- Harry gives Carrie the two cards in his hand, but keeps his set (3/4 and 3/12).
- Carrie has her two sets, and all of the cards Harry and Larry gave her. That is, 1/2, 2/15, 2/3 and 7/12 from Larry, 1/10 and 1/6 from Harry, and 8/10, 1/5, 1/3, 1/4 and X/12 from her own two sets.
- Carrie gets a huge number of points - (3 + 17 + 5 + 19) + (11 + 7) + (18 + 6 + 4 + 5 + 1), a total of 96 points!
- Harry gets some consolation, he gets 7 + 15 = 22 points from his set of two cards.
- Poor Larry gets 0 this round. Maybe he'll have better luck next round?
You might like to vary the rules. Feel free! Here's a few suggestions.
- In the rules above, sets are formed by addition of fractions only. You could also allow subtraction using the red cards. So a blue 2/3, a blue 1/2, and a blue 1/6 could not form a set, but So a blue 2/3, a blue 1/2, and a red 1/6 could. So could a blue 5/6 and a red 1/6 - that's right, the red cards can be used for addition or subtraction.
- Instead of allowing each player their own piece of paper for scrap working, everyone shares one piece of paper... Yes, that's right, they can see each other's working out!
- Of course, there's many other ways to vary the rules - and even many other games you could play with these cards!
Well, that's all for this math fraction game. Hope the kids you care for like it!
Yours, Dr Mike...
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