It really is the easy things in life that work the best.
Today we tackled day 2 of relating fractions with decimals. I had pulled out my prepped decimal/fraction games, but then I decided that I would wait on them and have my students make their own.
You should probably know that yesterday we began decimals... and my students looked at me like I was an alien. Going into today I knew that it wasn't going to be a hard lesson, but there was a big chance that they weren't going to get it right away. So we brainstormed some related fractions and decimals on the board. We also added some mixed numbers into the mix. They got that pretty easily. It did feel a little weird not going into the math book, but I think we were due for a change.
Then I told them that we were going to make math puzzles and create a matching game. They loved that idea. You can see my examples in the top left. I took one index card and cut it in a zig zag pattern. Once again they looked at me like I was an alien, but I showed them how one side would have the fraction, and the other would have the decimal. That only those 2 pieces would be able to fit together to make the puzzle come together.
Their directions were to grab 10 index cards, and one by one they cut them apart in some way - choosing fractions/decimals either from the board examples, or they made up their own. They couldn't move onto their next index card until they had written a fraction/decimal pair. They weren't allowed to have any leftover index card pieces either. Once they were done they stuck all their pieces into a sandwich size bag, and they were ready to play the game.
They took their bag and grabbed a partner - not literally grabbed (I did have to explain that to some kids)... They solved each other's puzzles, switched the cards back to their original bags, and moved to a different partner. We kept going, they kept reinforcing the concept, and they were all actively engaged.
I did hear a couple of kids tell their partners that yesterday they didn't understand, but today they did. That made me feel happy. :) Most of them wanted to take their cards home to have their parents try to solve them. I'm sure dinner tonight will be fun!