Fractions of a Whole With A Veggie Tray!

Posted by Brittney Field on

Fun Fact: Did you know that this game was #13 in Buzzfeed's "26 Dollar-Store Finds That Will Make Back To School Easy"?

I have to admit that I have a slight obsession with dollar stores, and in particular with the Dollar Tree (where everything is actually \$1).  There are so many trinkets and little goodies just waiting to be made into simple games for the classroom... and they're all at a really great price.  In fact, that's where I purchased the plastic veggie tray, beads, and dice used in this game.

Today's game was created for the purpose of practicing fractions of a whole number.  This 2-4 player game is an easy way to give students more practice conceptualizing this skill, while still having fun.

Object of the game: To collect the greatest number of beads by the time all of the beads in the center pile have been removed.

Materials needed:

• 6-slot plastic veggie tray like the one pictured below, or you could also make a similar structure using 7 paper plates (1 in the inside and 6 around)
• 100 small beads or counters
• 1 dice
• 6 small pieces of paper

Game setup:

• Place all of the beads in the center of the veggie tray.
• Write the fractions 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8 on 6 small pieces of paper, and place one in each of the 6 slots around your veggie tray.  To start, I recommend placing them in order around the tray from greatest to least moving counter-clockwise.
• Write "Start" and an arrow pointing counter-clockwise below 1/2 (see image below).

Playing the game:

1. Each player takes a turn rolling the dice.  The player with the highest roll goes first.

2. The first player rolls the dice and removes that number of beads from the center pile (i.e. if the player rolled a 4, then he/she takes 4 beads from the center pile).

3. Starting with the slot that reads "Start" and moving counter-clockwise, the player drops 1 bead into each slot.

4. After dropping all of the beads into the slots, the player looks at the slot into which he/she dropped the final bead.  This final slot will be referred to as the landing slot.  The landing slot is the slot that will be used for the rest of his/her turn.

In the image above, the first player rolled a 4.  He removed 4 beads from the center pile and placed one bead into each slot, starting with 1/2 (the slot that says "Start") and moving counter-clockwise.  The landing slot is the final slot that the player placed a bead into, which on this turn is 1/5.

5. The player's goal is to figure out how to collect as many beads as possible from the landing slot.  The player can only collect beads from the landing slot when the fraction written in the landing slot multiplied by the number of beads in the landing slot equals a whole number.  That whole number is the number of beads the player can collect from the landing slot.

Note: When a player collects beads, he/she removes them from the landing slot and places them into a pile in front of him/her.  Any collected beads are out of play and will be counted towards the player's score at the end of the game.

• Examples:
• If 1/5 is the fraction written in the landing slot and there are 5 beads in the landing slot, then the player can collect 1 bead from the landing slot since 1/5 of 5 beads = 1 bead.
• If 1/5 is the fraction written in the landing slot and there are 10 beads in the landing slot, then the player can collect 2 beads from the landing slot since 1/5 of 10 beads = 2 beads.
• If 1/5 is the fraction written in the landing slot and there are 2 beads in the landing slot, the player cannot collect any beads from the landing slot since 1/5 of 2 equals a fraction of a bead.
• If 1/5 is the fraction written in the landing slot and there are 6 beads in the landing slot, the player cannot collect any beads from the landing slot since 1/5 of 6 equals a fraction of a bead.

You could play the game using steps 1-5 above and skipping ahead to steps 7-9 below.  Step 6 is where the game gets a bit more tricky to understand (at first), but is also where the game gets a lot more fun for your kiddos.  You can choose which game variation to play, but I highly recommend continuing onto step 6.

6. After landing in the landing slot, the player has two options for getting the number of beads in the landing slot to be such that he/she will be able to collect some beads.  The player may either use the number of beads that are already in the landing slot, or  may "steal" all of the beads from the slot directly across from the landing slot (we'll call that slot the opposing slot from now on) and add ALL of those beads to the number of beads already in the landing slot.

Note that if a player decides to steal the beads from the opposing slot, he/she must take ALL of the beads.

• Examples where the player would want to steal all of the beads from the opposing slot (assume the landing slot is 1/5):
• If the landing slot has 3 beads and the opposing slot has 2 beads, the player can steal those 2 beads from the opposing slot and place them into the landing slot in order to make 5 total beads in the landing slot.  The player will now be able to collect 1 bead from the landing slot because 1/5 of 5 equals 1.
• If the landing slot has 7 beads and the opposing slot has 3 beads, the player can steal those 3 beads from the opposing slot and place them into the landing slot in order to make 10 total beads in the landing slot.  The player will now be able to collect 2 beads from the landing slot because 1/5 of 10 equals 2.

• Examples where the player would not want to steal from the opposing slot, and therefore use only the beads that are already in the landing slot (assume the landing slot is 1/5):
• If the landing slot has 5 beads and the opposing slot has 2 beads, the player will not want to steal those 2 beads from the opposing slot because 1/5 of 7 beads will not equal a whole number.  Instead, the player will use the 5 beads already in the landing slot; he/she will collect 1 bead because 1/5 of 5 equals 1.
• If the landing slot has 10 beads and the opposing slot has 1 bead, the player will not want to steal that 1 bead from the opposing slot because 1/5 of 11 beads will not equal a whole number.  Instead, the player will use the 10 beads already in the landing slot; he/she will collect 2 beads because 1/5 of 10 equals 2.

Note: There will be times when the player will not be able to collect any beads, regardless of whether or not he/she steals from the opposing slot.  For example, assume the landing slot is 1/5.  If the landing slot has 4 beads and the opposing slot has 2 beads, the player will not be able to collect any beads no matter what because 1/5 of 4 does not equal a whole number and 1/5 of 6 does not equal a whole number.  The player may still choose to steal the beads from the opposing slot for strategic reasons, but he/she will still not be able to collect any beads this round.

7. Once the player has made his/her move (by collecting any possible beads from the landing slot), that player's turn is over.  The next player takes his/her turn.  Each player always begins each turn at "Start."

8. Play continues until all of the beads have been removed from the center pile.  Each player counts the number of beads that he/she collected.  The player with the greatest number of beads collected is the winner.  Be aware that there will still be beads in the outside slots, but those will not count towards any player's score.

9. Place all beads back into the center and start again.

Looking for other fun ways to practice fractions in your math centers?  Check out these and other fraction games in our store.