Fractions and Mixed Numbers Lesson Plan: The Dig It! Game

Grade Levels: 3-5

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3, 4, and 5, students use BrainPOP resources to learn about key terms related to fractions, such as mixed number. Students will use a number line to explore fractional amounts in real life scenarios, as well as in virtual game play online.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Define key terms related to fractions, including mixed number.
  2. Use a number line to explore fractional amounts.


  • LCD projector or interactive whiteboard
  • Individual computers for students to use
  • Internet access for BrainPOP


whole number; fraction; numerator; denominator; improper fraction; mixed number


Preview the Mixed Numbers topic page and the Fractions topic page to determine which one is better fit for your students. The Mixed Numbers movie explains how to convert, add, and subtract mixed numbers, while the Fractions movie provides a simpler overview of basic fraction concepts.

Familiarize yourself with the Dig It game, which can be used to teach and reinforce a basic understanding of fractions as well as more complex mixed number concepts. The game board features a dirt field with buried jewels. A number line extending from 0 to 9 overlays the jewel field, and a shovel above the jewel field is used to dig for dirt. Players use the numbers to make the numerator and denominator of a fraction which indicates the location on the number line at which they’d like the shovel to dig. Then they click the location on the number line to tell the shovel where to dig. How wide the shovel opens depends on how well the location students select matches the value of the fraction they made. The shovel will open widest if the location matches the fraction exactly. The yellow line indicates where they clicked, and the green line indicates the exact location of the fraction. Points are earned for the amount of dirt they remove and for each jewel that they collect. Detailed game directions and suggested parent/educator activities can be found by visiting the game and clicking on "Game Directions."

Lesson Procedure:

  1. As a warm up, display the Vocabulary page for the class. Challenge students to define the terms in their own words with a partner.
  2. Ask students to define the term "mixed numbers" and build their background knowledge on the concept. Play either the Fractions or Mixed Numbers movie, depending on your students' level of understanding.
  3. Introduce the Dig It! game to students. Model a few rounds of game play, demonstrating how to create and locate fractions the number line to tell the shovel where to dig. Explain that students will earn points for the amount of dirt they collect and the number of jewels they discover.
  4. Give students about 10 minutes to play the game in partners or individually. Afterward, talk with the class about the strategies they used in game play.
  5. Use the Fractions Quiz or Mixed Numbers Quiz as a review or assessment tool.

Extension Activity:

Encourage students to use mixed numbers in real-life scenarios, such as cooking. Share the Experiment with the class and challenge students to follow the recipe! Have students write recipes for their favorite foods.

More games by this developer are available on the Calculation Nation website.

Be sure to check out the other Math Games featured in GameUp!