Fraction Darts
 Activity For Teachers

 TEACHERS: Fraction Darts Score Sheet:     Word     PDF Worksheet:     Word     PDF

Overview:
A balloon is placed on a number line from 0 to 1. Students will try to pop it by trying to guess where the balloon rests and throwing a dart at that point. The higher the difficulty setting, the more accurate the guesses will need to be in order to pop the balloon. This is a great activity for reviewing the concept of fractions and how to compare one fraction with another.

NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards:

• 4.1.A - Number Sense
• 4.1.C - Estimation

Lesson Plan 1

Classroom Environment:

• One laptop or desktop computer and a projector

Materials:

• Internet connection
• Macromedia Flash Player, Version 7 or higher
• Some sort of prize for a group of students (optional)

Procedure:

A. Setting the Stage

Review the concept of fractions.
Pose these questions:

• What happens to the size of a fraction if you keep the denominator constant and increase the numerator? Decrease the numerator?
• What happens to the size of a fraction if you keep the numerator constant and increase the denominator? Decrease the denominator?

B. Activity

1. Divide the class into several groups of three to five students.
2. Assign a name to each group, or let the students pick their own group names. On a sheet of paper, blackboard, or whiteboard, write down each group's name on a separate row. This is for keeping score.
3. Start up the free play version of Fraction Darts, located here, on the projector. Initially, select the level of the game to be 1, with 10 darts, and the scale on.
4. You will be going to each group one at a time, so you will need to determine the rotation order.
5. Starting with the first group, ask them to guess where to throw a dart in order to pop the balloon. When they have agreed, have one person in the group announce what their fraction is, enter it into the game, and throw the dart. If it hits, give that group a point, start a new game, and go on to the next group. If it misses, simply go on to the next group without starting a new game. This way, they have a bit of extra information.
6. If the next group hits, they get a point. But if they miss, then just move on to the next group without restarting. Each group will get more of an advantage until the balloon is popped.
7. Once all groups have made a guess, start a new game, regardless of whether or not the balloon has been popped. At this point, you may increase the difficulty or turn off the scale, and that setting should remain in effect until every group has had another turn.
8. Proceed in this fashion until you decide it is time to stop the game.
9. Check the scores and congratulate the winning team. If you have a prize, let 'em have it!

C. Debrief

Ask the winning team why they did so well and what strategies they used. Discuss any strategies of your own as well.

Assessment:

Hand out the worksheet provided above. It has seven problems, each depicting a game in progress. From the previous throws, students must try to figure out what the next throw should be. They must also explain their reasoning, thus providing a language component to the assessment. The worksheet may be collected and graded, or you may actually play the games shown so that students can see if their reasoning was correct. The game is provided on the activity page, but you may also get to it from here.

Lesson Plan 2

Classroom Environment:

• Enough laptops or desktop computers to have stations of one to four students each

Materials:

• Internet connection
• Maromedia Flash Player, Version 7 or higher
• Score Sheets (See top left of page)

Procedure:

A. Setting the Stage

Review the concept of fractions.
Pose these questions:

• What happens to the size of a fraction if you keep the denominator constant and increase the numerator? Decrease the numerator?
• What happens to the size of a fraction if you keep the numerator constant and increase the denominator? Decrease the denominator?

B. Activity

1. Divide the class into several groups of one to four students and have each group sit at a laptop or desktop.
2. Give each student several score sheets, depending on how many games you want or have time for them to play.
3. Direct students to the Activity page - http://www.ciese.org/math/activities/fractiondarts/activity.html

There, they will find a listing of several ways to play the game. It will look like this:

However, they will not have links to answer keys! For assessment purposes, it would be a good idea to have them do any or all of Lessons 1, 2, and 3. In these games, the balloon is not placed randomly on the scale, and you have answer keys to these games. Thus, students could turn in the score sheets to these games for grading.
4. Allow the students to play the games and keep score. Walk around the room and help/question as necessary.

C. Debrief

Ask students or groups with high scores to share why they did so well and what strategies they used. Discuss any strategies of your own as well.

Assessment:

Students may hand in their score sheets for grading. Also, you may out the worksheet provided above. It has seven problems, each depicting a game in progress. From the previous throws, students must try to figure out what the next throw should be. They must also explain their reasoning, thus providing a language component to the assessment. The worksheet may be collected and graded, or you may actually play the games shown so that students can see if their reasoning was correct. The game is provided on the activity page, but you may also get to it from here.