Ordering Fractions and Decimals Lesson Plan: Flower Power Game

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3 through 8, students use BrainPOP resources and hands-on collaborative activities to order fractions and decimals. Students then practice and apply fraction and decimal concepts through online interactive game play.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Compare and order fractions.
  2. Compare and order decimals.
  3. Practice and apply fraction and decimal concepts through online interactive game play.

Materials:

  • One index card for each student
  • Interactive whiteboard (or LCD projector)
  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Computers for students to play the Flower Power game in pairs or independently

Vocabulary:

fractions; numerator; denominator; common denominator; decimals; tenths; hundreths

Preparation:

Familiarize yourself with the BrainPOP resources and Flower Power game. The object of this math game is to make as much money as possible by growing and harvesting valuable and exotic flowers. Students use fraction and decimal ordering skills to correctly order the blooms in the garden, and then harvest mature stems and sell them. Students can develop more interesting varieties by growing simple flowers and leaving them to pollinate and seed. New and improved strains will germinate from perfectly-ordered flowers. Students must balance pollination and harvesting to achieve a high score, and demonstrate a mastery of fractions and horticulture.

Each bloom (which is labeled with a fraction early in the game and fraction or decimal later on) grows on the flower stems. The numbers must be ordered by dragging large blooms to the top and small blooms to the bottom. Buds will flower into blooms if released, or if not positioned quickly enough. When a stem grows to its full height of seven blooms, it will stop growing, and the player has the opportunity to either harvest it, or wait and allow it to be pollinated by a bee. To harvest, simply click on the scissors that appear if you mouse-over the stem value displayed at the base of the stem. To pollinate, leave the stem standing, and wait for the bees. When a bee pollinates the flower, it will spread more seeds.

You can click "Help" at the beginning of game play and during game play as needed. More directions (including information about the game controls and scoring) can be found on the Manga High site under "Instructions". Portions of this lesson plan have been adapted from the resources provided by Manga High.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Play the Fractions movie for the class to build student background knowledge.
  2. Pass out index cards and have each student write a fraction on his or her card using large handwriting. You may want to define parameters for the size of fractions students are allowed to choose, depending on ability level. Specify whether mixed numbers will be allowed.
  3. Divide students into groups of 5-7 and have them stand up and hold their cards in order from smallest to largest.
  4. Have students remain standing with their group facing the rest of the class while you invite their peers to check their work. Talk about each group's order and guide students to re-order themselves as needed.
  5. Have students re-group and repeat the activity again.
  6. Re-group students and instruct them to simply arrange the index cards on a table with the smallest number at the bottom of the table closest to them and the largest number at the top. Walk around to check students' work and guide discussion as needed. Repeat the activity a few more times if students need practice.
  7. Tell students that they will have the opportunity to order fractions in an interactive game. Project Flower Power for the class to see and click on "Help" to show students the basics of game play and the objective.
  8. Allow students to explore the game with a partner or independently for 10-15 minutes. As they work, walk around the room and assist students with mathematical concepts if they need help.
  9. Bring the class back to a whole group discussion and talk about the strategies students used during game play. Guide students to understand that cheap flowers are not worth their time; it's better to grow perfect stems and let them pollinate so you progress quickly to more valuable flowers and fungi. Ask whether any students were able to balance pollination and harvesting well enough to keep at least six high-value stems growing at the same time. Guide students to understand that they will be most successful if they work left to right, ordering one bloom on each stem in sequence. (There are more tips for improving your score on the Manga High site.)
  10. Talk with students about how they applied mathematical principles in the game. Encourage them to think about which whole numbers a bud is between, and whether a fractional part of a number is greater than or less than a half.
  11. In a follow-up lesson, show the movie on Decimals to the class and discuss. Have students write a decimal amount on the back of their fraction index card and practice ordering the decimals in groups.
  12. Give students 15-30 minutes to explore the Flower Power game again, either in pairs or independently, and practice their skills with both fractions and decimals.
  13. As an assessment, have students choose 7 fractions and/or decimals and order them on their papers. Then they should write an explanation of how they determined the order. Encourage students to use key vocabulary terms in their writing and apply the skills they used during game play.

Extension Activity:

Have students explore the other Math Games in GameUp. Then challenge them to create their own games to help their classmates practice key math skills!


BrianPOP Movies:

Converting Fractions to Decimals
Decimals
Fractions
Mixed Numbers