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Fractions & Decimals:

Fraction Ball


Today's Snack: Make "Half-Cup Granola." It got its name because you mix cup of all but one of the ingredients. That one ingredient is uncooked oats - not "instant" oats, but the dry flakes you buy in the cardboard canister.

First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a big bowl, mix:


2 C. uncooked oats (not instant)

C. coconut

C. almonds or seeds (not for kids under age 3 or anybody allergic)

C. bran or Grape-Nuts cereal


Now melt together in a microwave or stovetop:


C. butter or margarine

C. honey


Stir into dry ingredients. Spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Stir often. Stir in:


C. raisins or chopped dates


Cool on cookie sheet.

When cool, pour the amount you want to eat right away into a zip-lock bag to keep from spilling very much. And eat! Store the rest in an airtight jar or container.

Makes 12 servings of "Half-Cup Granola" which are, not surprisingly, about cup each!





Basketball hoop(s) and basketball(s)

OR any kind of ball and a "goal" you try to hit with the ball

Sidewalk chalk if you're on pavement

Carpenter's tape and a marker if you're using the hoops in a gym

Index cards and markers with weights such as rocks if you're on grass

Laundry basket, child's wading pool or sturdy chair for use as a goal if you're playing outside on grass

Notebook or paper and pencil for keeping score



Take a look at the list of ingredients for today's snack. How many cups altogether did you mix? 5, right? There were a lot of 's in that recipe. In fact, there are a lot of 's in the world. It's probably the most common fraction.


A "fraction" is a number, usually very small, and often under "1." It is expressed as a ratio, with the number of parts up top and the size of the quantity underneath.


Small children often have trouble understanding that even though a "2" is smaller than a "4," the fraction is a bigger quantity than the fraction -- in fact, twice as big!


But the more you work with fractions, the easier it becomes to understand that they are very helpful in everything from cooking to making machines work.


For this game, let's work with fractions of:




If you are playing outside on pavement, take the sidewalk chalk and write those fractions all over the basketball court so that they are spread out well, but still close enough to the basket to make a shot from each of those points "make-able."


If you're working in a big group of kids, you can set this game up for as many nets as you have, divide into groups of four and play. If there are more kids than that, the others can play "Follow the Leader Dribbling" or divide into pairs and see how many bounce passes they can make. Then they can switch places with the "Fraction Ball" group when they complete the game.


After you've marked the fractions on the pavement, take the basketball and stand on any of the fractions. Read it out loud for the person keeping score for you, if there is another person available. That person should write down what fraction you're standing on, to keep track. You can go in any order you'd like.


Now call out what fraction, when added to the one you're standing on, adds up to "1." If you have to look around at the other fractions chalked on the court to find the one that makes a match, that's fine.


For example, if you're standing on the , you would call out , because + = 4/4 = 1.


The scorekeeper would give you 1 point for getting that right. Then, shoot from that spot. If you make the basket, you get another point.


Now go around to all the other fractions on the court, and repeat the process. Call out what fraction, when added to the one you're standing on, adds up to 1. Then try to sink the basket.


Watch out when you come to the fraction 1/1. What do you have to add to it to get 1? (the answer is nothing, and if you say "zero" or "nothing," you get a point!)


If you're not outside on pavement, then mark the fractions on pieces of carpenter's tape on the gym floor, if you're using the basketball nets in the gym. If you're outside on grass, write the fractions on pieces of paper and weigh them down with books or rocks; score points by hitting a goal such as a laundry basket, child's wading pool or sturdy chair with any kind of ball, not necessarily making the ball land inside the goal.


Then go ahead and stand at each fraction, call out the fraction which, when added to it, makes 1, and shoot from that spot.


The game is over when you've made the rounds of all the fractions. How many points did you score? A perfect score is 20!


This game is fun by yourself. But it's only a FRACTION as much fun as when you can play it with others!


By Susan Darst Williams Math 2010


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