Time to have some fun playing card games with fractions! Fraction War is a great game for practicing understanding fractions. You can work on Here’s what you will need to play either Fraction War (easier) or Fraction Blackjack (a little bit harder but still fun):
50 to 100 fraction cards ~ you can make your own, using 3×5 notecards and including a variety of fractions or you can print something like this from a free website and cut them out:
If you’re just starting to learn about fractions, stick to easier ones like 1/2 and 1/3. If you’re in 5th or 6th grade and really needing to get good at working with unusual fractions, be sure to include interesting ones like 9/11 and 7/12.
a calculator ~ the calculator in both of these games is for solving disputes. If you both think you have the larger fraction or, in the case of Blackjack, if you disagree on a sum, then a calculator can help. Remember that you divide the numerator (top number) by the denominator (bottom number) to change a fraction to a decimal.
scratch paper & pencil ~ this is mostly for Blackjack but could come in handy in War, as well.
How to play War:
Divide the deck in half. (War works best for 2 players.)
Each player holds his or her half face down.
On the count of 3, each player turns over the top card on the pile. Whose fraction is largest? (Not sure whose fraction is largest? Check on the calculator. For example, if you are comparing 3/4 and 4/5, change each fraction to a decimal, see above, and you can easily see that 4/5 = .8 which is larger than 3/4 = .75.)
The player with the largest fraction wins the round and takes both cards, placing them face down on the bottom of his or her pile of cards.
Now go again. Easy! Keep playing until one player has won all the cards or until your brain is tired!
How to play Blackjack:
Lots of people can play. Decide who will be the dealer.
The dealer should shuffle or mix up the cards and hold the deck face down. Deal each player in turn, one fraction card. Everyone looks at his or her card without showing anyone else.
Now players have the option to receive a second card. The dealer asks each player in turn if he or she would like a card. Your goal is to get as close to 1 whole as you can without going over. You reach your goal by adding the cards in your hand together. So, do you want a card? Well, it depends. If you have a small fraction, like 1/9 or 2/7, then I would say yes. Be brave! If you have a larger fraction, like 4/5 or 9/11, it’s harder to decide and you might decide to say No to that second card.
After everyone has a second card, players take turns revealing their fraction sums or cards, if they only have 1. Whoever is the closest to 1 without going over, is the winner!
You could keep track of who wins the most games or you could have the winner be the dealer for the next round.
a tip about adding fractions: Your goal is to get better at adding fractions and at estimating with fractions in your head. If you are combining two fractions like 1/3 and 4/6, then you should challenge yourself to work that sum in your head. If you are combining two fractions like 4/7 and 1/3, it will help your learning and practice to grab a piece of scratch paper and work out that sum. Either way, if people in the game disagree, use the calculator to break the dispute. Change the fractions to decimals and add the two decimals together.
Try one or both of these games and feel your brain getting bigger and smarter!
Have fun with math every day!