The Multiplying Game

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SWBAT: • Create an estimate of a fraction multiplication problem. • Multiply fractions and mixed numbers using visual models. • Develop strategies for creating the smallest product.

Big Idea

How can you create the smallest product in the Multiplying Game? Students apply what they know about multiplying fractions to the Multiplying Game.

Do Now

15 minutes

See my Do Now in my Strategy folder that explains my beginning of class routines.

Often, I create do nows that have problems that connect to the task that students will be working on that day.  The do now is a little longer for this lesson because I want students to have time to complete the problems and share out their ideas.   I walk around to ensure that students are making estimates and creating a diagram.  It is okay if they are using an algorithm, but I require them to also create a diagram.

I call on students to share their ideas.  I have a couple students come up to the document camera to show their diagrams and strategies.  I ask, “Is there a shortcut for multiplying fractions?” and “Is there a shortcut for multiplying mixed numbers?” I remind students that knowing the algorithm is helpful, but it also is important that you are able to create a model of the problem to show that you understand what is going on.

The Multiplying Game

20 minutes


  • I use the data from the ticket to go from Mixed Number Multiplication to identify any students who are still struggling with multiplying fractions and mixed numbers.  If there are a small group of students, I will pull them during the game and we will practice and review using whiteboards.
  • Each partner pair will need a die (1-6), a rule sheet and a recording sheet.  I print off extra recording sheets so students can start a new game if they finish the first one.
  • I also have students take out scrap paper so they can complete and check their work.

I give students thirty seconds to find a partner and sit down.  I ask a volunteer to come to the front and model the game with me so everyone can learn the rules.  I explain that the person with the smaller product wins that round.  

Each time you roll, you write the number in one of the boxes.  Once you write a number in a box, you can’t move it.  When you’re done you’ll have a fraction and one extra or “reject” number.  A common misunderstanding is that students have to use the same numbers.  Each player rolls and writes his/her own numbers.

Once you and your partner each have a multiplication problem, you multiply your problem.  You also check your partner’s work.  Then you need to compare to see which answer is smaller. 

My volunteer and I model the entire process, including the comparing.  I ask a student to clarify the point of the game.  Students start playing with their partners.

If I have a small group that needs review, I pull them at this time.  Every few minutes I walk around the room to monitor how students are doing. 

With a couple minutes to go, I have students return their materials and return to their seats.  I ask students to quickly share any strategies they developed for creating the smallest product.  Students may share that when they rolled a larger number, they put it in the denominator.  Other students may share that when they rolled a smaller number, they put it in the numerator.  If I have time I ask, “With your die, what do you think is the smallest product you could get?  How do you know?”

I collect students’ recording sheets so I can look at their work.

Closure and Ticket to Go

15 minutes

 For Closure I ask for a few partner pairs to share two products from a round.  Then the class must work to figure out who won that round.  Then the presenting pair calls on students to see what they think.  They share whether they agree or disagree and why.  This is a great opportunity for students to engage in MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. 

I pass out the Ticket to Go