There's nothing like a parent-teacher conference to inspire new deceptively educational games. That was the case with this activity. My son's teacher mentioned that fractions of groups was on the lesson plan for the final trimester and that it can often be a struggle for kids.
Here's the little game I cooked up to help my son master this skill.
Not knowing how much he'd need to be challenged, I created one card game with three levels of difficulty. (Click on the level or the cards below to download a 3-page PDF of each.)
Level 1 is the easiest with a grid of squares, with the representative fraction of them filled in.
Level 2 provides the same visual cues (a grid of squares) that Level 1 provides, but the representative fraction of squares is NOT filled in.
Level 3 is the most challenging. There are no visual cues to help players. They must think through the problem in their heads.
How to Play
Playing is simple. Get some glass babbles (those flattened marbles from the craft store floral department) to use as a manipulative. One by one players take turns, turning over the cards in the deck (print 2-3 copies of the level of your choice or mix them together) and solve the problem.
If the player answers correctly, they get to take the number of babbles in the answer. Colored cards have high-number answers.
But, wait, there are some "Put Back" cards in the deck!! If a player gets one of these cards, when they solve the problem, the answer is the number of babbles they must return to the "draw" pile of babbles. If they don't have enough, they just put back all that they have.
How to Win
The first player to get 50 babbles wins (or if you're having tons of fun, play until 100 like my son and I did). Encourage players to put their babbles in groups of ten to make counting them easier.