Teachers can use Frax as part of math rotations. At their independent stations, students can work at their own pace on Frax. Teachers track student progress using the class and individual reports on the teacher dashboard. Then teachers can use this data to tailor their small-group instruction to what each student needs.
Since the game presents early fraction concepts using blocks, have kids use manipulatives to reinforce this approach. Since one of the missions within the game centers around a competition to load the correct blocks onto trucks, you can have kids challenge each other by creating questions like those in the game, which comes at those concepts from another angle. And then, as kids begin to connect the concepts around whole numbers being comprised of parts, let kids construct visuals or their own games to illustrate these concepts so that they can build understanding in their own way.Continue reading Show less
In Frax, third through fifth graders join a team of ferrets as they explore the galaxy on the FFS Sable. Kids must use fraction concepts to complete each mission. While completing missions, students earn tokens. Tokens can be used to "buy" items in the store to decorate their student cabin. They also earn trophies for their trophy room.
Frax scaffolds early fraction concepts by providing online manipulatives, and all of the math fits into the storyline. For example, kids drag blocks to fill up ships with fuel. They figure out that they can drag four of the one-fourth blocks to create a whole fuel block. Students drag and rearrange blocks that are to scale. Kids also compare fractions as they trade space gems at the market, and answer fraction-related questions at the end of each mission as glowing space orbs seek answers from the ship's feline mascot. Within each mission, mechanics adjust to come at the concepts from a variety of angles. Regular feedback is provided throughout tasks: If kids get a question wrong, they get a tip and an opportunity to try again and earn half the points. To move onto the next mission, kids need to wait until the next day.
What sets Frax apart is how it features fraction concepts by truly embedding them within an engaging story. And then it cleverly scaffolds each concept by switching up mechanics and questions, just as practice might get tedious. And though the manipulatives are virtual, the process of selecting, dragging, and dropping serves the same purpose as the hands-on variety. These visuals are crucial -- helping students to see that one fourth is smaller than one third -- a concept that many kids struggle with. Each task gets progressively harder. And then, at the end of each mission, a short assessment takes the form of alien beings asking a cat questions, which keeps kids in the story.
Though it's similar to Cyberchase Fractions Quest, Frax's storyline and the characters are more engaging. Students truly want to see what happens when the story unfolds. After completing a mission, students have to wait another day before moving on to the next mission. This keeps kids wanting more and also allows kids to regularly revisit fractions concepts over many days without burning themselves out in one sitting. Frax also gives teachers the flexibility to move students ahead who already understand, and assign specific missions. Though it could use a few more ancillary resources, a social element (maybe in the form of off-screen challenges?), and accessibility and multilingual supports, it's definitely one of those rare products that can truly move conceptual understanding forward, all while kids have fun.
Key Standards Supported
Number And Operations—Fractions
Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.
Understand a fraction as a number on the number line; represent fractions on a number line diagram.
Represent a fraction 1/b on a number line diagram by defining the interval from 0 to 1 as the whole and partitioning it into b equal parts. Recognize that each part has size 1/b and that the endpoint of the part based at 0 locates the number 1/b on the number line.
Represent a fraction a/b on a number line diagram by marking off a lengths 1/b from 0. Recognize that the resulting interval has size a/b and that its endpoint locates the number a/b on the number line.
Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.
Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line.
Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3). Explain why the fractions are equivalent, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
Express whole numbers as fractions, and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Examples: Express 3 in the form 3 = 3/1; recognize that 6/1 = 6; locate 4/4 and 1 at the same point of a number line diagram.
Compare two fractions with the same numerator or the same denominator by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n × a)/(n × b) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size. Use this principle to recognize and generate equivalent fractions.
Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
Understand a fraction a/b with a > 1 as a sum of fractions 1/b. a.
Understand addition and subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts referring to the same whole.
Decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with the same denominator in more than one way, recording each decomposition by an equation. Justify decompositions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model. Examples: 3/8 = 1/8 + 1/8 + 1/8 ; 3/8 = 1/8 + 2/8 ; 2 1/8 = 1 + 1 + 1/8 = 8/8 + 8/8 + 1/8.
Add and subtract mixed numbers with like denominators, e.g., by replacing each mixed number with an equivalent fraction, and/or by using properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole and having like denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem.
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction by a whole number.
Understand a fraction a/b as a multiple of 1/b. For example, use a visual fraction model to represent 5/4 as the product 5 × (1/4), recording the conclusion by the equation 5/4 = 5 × (1/4).
Understand a multiple of a/b as a multiple of 1/b, and use this understanding to multiply a fraction by a whole number. For example, use a visual fraction model to express 3 × (2/5) as 6 × (1/5), recognizing this product as 6/5. (In general, n × (a/b) = (n × a)/b.)
Solve word problems involving multiplication of a fraction by a whole number, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, if each person at a party will eat 3/8 of a pound of roast beef, and there will be 5 people at the party, how many pounds of roast beef will be needed? Between what two whole numbers does your answer lie?
Express a fraction with denominator 10 as an equivalent fraction with denominator 100, and use this technique to add two fractions with respective denominators 10 and 100.4 For example, express 3/10 as 30/100, and add 3/10 + 4/100 = 34/100.
Use decimal notation for fractions with denominators 10 or 100. For example, rewrite 0.62 as 62/100; describe a length as 0.62 meters; locate 0.62 on a number line diagram.
Compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two decimals refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual model.
Add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators (including mixed numbers) by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions in such a way as to produce an equivalent sum or difference of fractions with like denominators. For example, 2/3 + 5/4 = 8/12 + 15/12 = 23/12. (In general, a/b + c/d = (ad + bc)/bd.)
Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions
Interpret a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator (a/b = a ÷ b). Solve word problems involving division of whole numbers leading to answers in the form of fractions or mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. For example, interpret 3/4 as the result of dividing 3 by 4, noting that 3/4 multiplied by 4 equals 3, and that when 3 wholes are shared equally among 4 people each person has a share of size 3/4. If 9 people want to share a 50-pound sack of rice equally by weight, how many pounds of rice should each person get? Between what two whole numbers does your answer lie?
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication to multiply a fraction or whole number by a fraction.
Interpret the product (a/b) × q as a parts of a partition of q into b equal parts; equivalently, as the result of a sequence of operations a × q ÷ b. For example, use a visual fraction model to show (2/3) × 4 = 8/3, and create a story context for this equation. Do the same with (2/3) × (4/5) = 8/15. (In general, (a/b) × (c/d) = ac/bd.)
Find the area of a rectangle with fractional side lengths by tiling it with unit squares of the appropriate unit fraction side lengths, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. Multiply fractional side lengths to find areas of rectangles, and represent fraction products as rectangular areas.
Interpret multiplication as scaling (resizing), by:
Comparing the size of a product to the size of one factor on the basis of the size of the other factor, without performing the indicated multiplication.
Explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction greater than 1 results in a product greater than the given number (recognizing multiplication by whole numbers greater than 1 as a familiar case); explaining why multiplying a given number by a fraction less than 1 results in a product smaller than the given number; and relating the principle of fraction equivalence a/b = (n×a)/(n×b) to the effect of multiplying a/b by 1.
Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.
Apply and extend previous understandings of division to divide unit fractions by whole numbers and whole numbers by unit fractions.1
Interpret division of a unit fraction by a non-zero whole number, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for (1/3) ÷ 4, and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that (1/3) ÷ 4 = 1/12 because (1/12) × 4 = 1/3.
Interpret division of a whole number by a unit fraction, and compute such quotients. For example, create a story context for 4 ÷ (1/5), and use a visual fraction model to show the quotient. Use the relationship between multiplication and division to explain that 4 ÷ (1/5) = 20 because 20 × (1/5) = 4.
Solve real world problems involving division of unit fractions by non-zero whole numbers and division of whole numbers by unit fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, how much chocolate will each person get if 3 people share 1/2 lb of chocolate equally? How many 1/3-cup servings are in 2 cups of raisins?
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