Looking for a tactile manipulative for helping students visualize fractions? Dominoes and fractions are natural partners:
1. They both have two numbers.
2. The numbers on both are separated by a line.
3. Since the numbers are represented by dots, it’s a great visual for introducing fraction concepts.
4. And the dominoes can be turned either way without a number becoming upside down.
Writing Fractions – For the beginning fractionier, have students select a domino and then turn it so it represents a fraction less than one.
Simplifying Fractions – Students select a domino, and then turn it so it represents a fraction less than one. To help them determine if the domino fraction can be simplified, have them redraw the domino on paper. Then ask them experiment to see if they can circle dots to create the same number of groups both above and below the fraction line. If they can, then the fraction can be simplified.
Improper Fractions – Select a domino and turn it so it represents an improper fraction. Once again, they can redraw the domino on paper to help them. Circle groups of dots in the numerator equal to the number of dots in the denominator. Count the circled groups to make the whole number. Uncircled denominator dots become the numerator.
Equivalent Fractions Game – Turn all the dominoes upside down. Two or more students all draw dominoes from the pile at the same time. As they turn them over, they try to find a pair of dominoes that are equivalent fractions. The first student to find a pair, wins the game. Turn the dominoes face down and play again.
Add, Subtract, Multiply, or Divide Fractions – Students select a pair of dominoes from the pile. Depending on their skill level, have them add, subtract, multiply, or divide the fractions represented by the dominoes.
Since domino sets come in double-sixes and double-twelve’s, the difficulty level of each of the above activities can easily be modified.
Oh, and don’t forget. In the original dominoes game, players match domino ends. They score when the sum of the end values is a multiple of five. Okay, so that doesn't have a lot to do with fractions, but it is, after all, dominoes.
(Previously Posted on my Adventures in Mathopolis blog, October 2011)