Common Denominator Games

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If your students are learning about fractions, they will need to understand how to find a common denominator. This lesson offers some games that make finding a common denominator fun!

Teaching Common Denominator Through Games

As a math teacher, you are working hard to get your students to understand and apply the concepts that are part of your work, but you also want to make sure that they enjoy their math learning and remain engaged. One way you can do this is by letting students play math games.

One important aspect of learning fractions has to do with finding a common denominator so that students can make equivalent fractions. This is an essential precursor to adding and subtracting with fractions. The games in this lesson give students practice finding common denominators while keeping math learning lighthearted and fun.

Get It Lower

This is a good game for kids who are working on finding the lowest common denominator between two or more fractions and those who like to work with partners. Students can make worksheets for their friends to play, or you can make sheets for all of your students. Each sheet should have a beginning column that lists pairs of fractions with different denominators.

Break students into partnerships to play. One player starts with the sheet and tries to find a common denominator for the initial two fractions. She then passes the sheet to her partner, who should see if she can find a lower common denominator. If so, she finds it and passes the sheet back; if not, she works on the next set of fractions. Students should continue playing until they have worked out the lowest common denominator for each of the fraction pairs.

Equivalent Fraction Match

Part of finding common denominators is finding equivalent fractions. This game may be played by a whole class or in small groups who needs extra practice.

Break the students who are playing into two teams - Team A and Team B. Then, project two different fractions with different denominators. Team A is responsible for finding five equivalent fractions for the first one and Team B is responsible for finding five equivalents for the second one.

Finally, bring the teams together and let them see if any of their fractions have common denominators; if not, send them back to the drawing board until they do!

Bundles of Five

This is a game that students can even play on their own, if they finish another activity or need some extra practice finding common denominators.

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