Mr Z has always been very interested in maths and fractions is a top we’ve been covering lately. We were sent a couple of great numeracy products from Learning Resources to help provide some fun ways to learn about fractions.

First up is the Fraction Formula game

Mr Z absolutely loves this game, and it’s actually pretty fun for adults to play with him too. We have had some maths games in the past which can be a little dull (even though Mr Z still liked them as he loves numbers so much) but this one really retains more of an element of fun, and it’s entertaining to play especially if you have 3 or 4 players rather than just 2.

The game includes:

• Four cylinders (they look just like real test tubes)
• 52 fraction cards (these are all colour coded to the fraction tiles to make it easier)
• 52 fraction tiles
• 20 scoring cards
• Activity Guide

The game involves taking turns to put a fraction tile into your test tube, to see who gets the closest to the top. If you go over the line, then you are out! It is largely a game of chance, but there is an element of tactics and judgement involved as you can choose not to take another card if you feel like you are getting too close to the top line.

The game really helps to give children practical experience in dealing with fractions and to understand in a hands-on way how different fractions could add up to make a whole. The fractions included go from 1/2 down to 1/12 so it’s likely that players will have mixed denominators in their tube. This can help children to naturally understand how fractions with different denominators convert. As a simple example: If I have a half, and a quarter in my tube, then I can look at it and understand that its 3/4 full so 1/2 + 1/4 = 3/4. It just helps children to feel very comfortable with the concept and terminology of fractions but in a very relaxed and fun way.

The tubes and fraction tiles can also be used as manipulatives for children to explore outside of the game in a less structured and competitive way.

When playing the game, the rule book suggests to play 4 rounds and score each player so that the winner of each round gets 20 points, second place gets 15 points and so on. If someone gets a perfect whole they get 5 bonus points, and if they go over the line then they get 0. This allows the game to last longer and also gives more opportunities for simple addition in calculating the scores to see each players progress as the game goes on.

The game is suggested for 8-12 years. Mr Z has just turned 6 (was 5 when we got the game) and he has found it simple enough to follow, so if you have a child who is good at maths then they would be fine playing this game slightly younger than the guideline age. He really enjoys the game and asks to play it often.

The next product is the See ‘N’ Solve Fraction Calculator

Mr Z had been really keen to have a calculator, and this one is great as it does regular sums and fractions too. Children can use it to add, subtract, multiply and divide fractions as well as whole numbers. It shows you how to reduce fractions, and convert them to decimals and percentages. It also allows you to convert improper fractions to mixed numbers, so basically it covers the whole range of fraction related problems. It’s pretty simple for children to use. There is a slider on the side to set the calculator to standard mode or fractions mode and then they can write fractions by using the large numerator and denominator keys on the calculator, which displays them in a really clear way.

Children can use this to check their answers after doing some fractions work, or just to play around with different fractions problems and see how they are solved. Mr Z will spend some time doing this, just to experiment with the numbers and see what problems he can make up. If your child puts in crazily large numbers for the fractions though, it will show up with an error message as Mr Z found out!

He really likes the calculator and it’s very sturdy and durable so great for the younger age group. The calculator is recommended for age 6-10 which seems about right. Mr Z took this in to show and tell as he was proud to have his own calculator and he’s told me that his friends all liked it too.

Why not try out our 10 more fun ways to learn fractions too!