Fraction Frustrations



by Ken Colclasure

Kenn is an ESL vocational instructor. He is also an avid gardener and sports car enthusiast. He is married and has three step children.

Instructional Objective The objective of this game is to reinforce the use and comparison of fractions.

Learners/Context The group is a VESL class studying beginning automotive. Many of the students are unfamiliar with fractions or have had little practice using them.

Fractions are frequently used in the automotive trade. A mechanic must know which wrenches or bolts are larger than others and must be able to state which fraction is larger when making a comparison.

Rationale I needed something portable, available, and fun for students to use in practicing fractions in the classroom.

Rules The card game may be played like solitaire, by a single player, or (preferably) as double solitaire, with two players. There are at least four suits based on the denominator of the fractions. The common fractions used in the industry from 1/2 to 1/64 can be used to form suits. The purpose is to use all the available cards by arranging them into suits in descending or ascending order. The suits can be color coded. For every substitution in the sequence, extra points will be given (for instance, 1/8 - 2/8 (1/4 ) - 3/8 - 4/8 (1/2) or 8/16 or 16/32).

If a player fails to use the lowest denominator, then a point will be subtracted. There will be enough cards in each suit to cover up to one inch. There will be extra cards that will be used to cover the points of intersection between suits; for instance, 1/4 - 1/2 -3/4, etc.

These extra cards will allow all suits to be completed in more than one way.

Card Design The cards consist simply of the fractions themselves drawn large enough to fill the face of the card.



Design Process I started out intending to use a WAR format but felt that it would become boring too quickly.