Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Speed! - Number Sense - Reducing Fractions

Speed! is a fun game for learning multiplication, but playing Speed! also helps children develop a strong number sense. This is the first post in a new series of posts - Speed! Number Sense - to explore different mathmatical concepts and how playing Speed! can facilitate understanding of these concepts.

The first concept is REDUCING FRACTIONS. When children play Speed! they quickly become familiar with the numbers in the decks. Then the numbers become associated in their mind. When a child who has played a lot of Speed! to learn the multiplication tables begins reducing fractions, the number sense helps tremendously.

Here are some fractions which contain numerators and denominators that are both in Three Speed. Three Speed contains the numbers 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27 and 30. 

3/6                                 9/15                                15/18
1/2                                   3/5                                  5/6

A child given the task to reduce 3/6 would recognize that both 3 and 6 were cards in Three Speed. 3 was the first card and 6 was the second card. Therefore the fraction could be reduced to 1/2.

The same is true for 9/15. 9 is the third card, and 15 is the fifth card. Therefore the fraction could be reduced to 3/5.

Here are some examples with Four Speed.

4/36                                 8/28                                12/20
1/9                                   2/7                                  3/5

4 is the first card in Four Speed, and 36 is the ninth card. Therefore the fraction could be reduced to 1/9.

Here are some examples with Six Speed.

6/18                                 18/54                                36/42
1/3                                   3/9                                  6/7

3/9 could be reduced again to 1/3. Both 3 and 9 are in Three Speed. 3 is the first card and 9 is the third card. Therefore the fraction could be reduced to 1/3.

 Playing Speed! doesn't teach reducing fractions, it is an activity that helps with multiplication and creates an excellent foundational number sense within children who play. It simply makes reducing fractions easier.

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