Compare Fractions

What You Need:

  • Deck of cards (with the face cards removed)
  • Scratch paper
  • Pencils

What You Do:

  1. Review the concepts of numerator and denominator: 

    The numerator is the number above the dividing line of a fraction. It indicates the number of parts being considered.

    The denominator is the number below the diving line of a fraction. It indicates the total number of parts in the whole.

  2. Decide on a dealer and have him shuffle the cards.
  3. Divide the deck evenly among the players.
  4. If you want, set a time limit for the game.
  5. Have the players place their cards face down in a pile in front of them.
  6. To begin playing, have players turn over two cards from their respective decks and place them in front of themselves.
  7. Players then decide which card they want to be the numerator and which card they want to be the denominator.
  8. Now, have the players calculate who has the largest fraction. There are several different ways to figure out whose fraction is greater. One way is to multiply the numerator and denominator of each fraction by the denominator of the other fraction. For example, with the fractions 3/4 and 7/8, compute 3/4 x 8/8 = 24/32 and 7/8 x 4/4 = 28/32. The largest fraction is 28/32 so 7/8 must be greater than 3/4.
  9. If your child figures out another way, don't discourage him. There's no wrong way to figure out which fraction is greater.
  10. The player who has the largest fraction wins all of the cards played in the round. If there's a tie, split the cards evenly among the players.
  11. The game is over when one player has accumulated all of the cards or time is up.
  12. Have the players count their cards. Whoever has the most cards wins!

Helpful Tip: If you play with more than two players, you might want to use more than one deck of cards. With only one deck you won't be able to play very many rounds before the cards run out.

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