Foxy Fractions - adding/subtracting unlike denominators task cards + printables

Rogue Algorithm
Grade Levels
4th - 6th
Formats Included
  • PDF
18 pages
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Rogue Algorithm


Help build your students’ proficiency with adding and subtracting fractions with unlike denominators with this set of task cards and printables. The 32 task cards will provide your students with the necessary practice to build skills with addition and subtraction with unlike denominators. Extend your students’ practice (or assess their level of mastery) with the four included activity pages. With these resources, your students will grow stronger in their understanding of key fractional computation concepts.

NOTE: This product is available as part of my Adding & Subtracting Unlike Denominators bundle. This bundle includes three different sets of task cards & printables, a set of self-checking puzzles, and two bonus sets of I Have…Who Has? cards that are only available in the bundle – and you can save over 20% on the cost of the individual products!


Common Core State Standards for Mathematics addressed:
Numbers and Operations – Fractions (5.NF)
Use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions.
• 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.) (5.NF.1)


• 2 graphic reference sheets
• 32 task cards
• task card answer sheet and key
• 4 activity sheets and key/scoring guide

I designed these task cards as a beginner set for my class when we first started working with addition & subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators. All of the fractions in the cards’ equations have denominators that allow students to rename just one fraction to match the denominator of the other fraction (e.g. 8/10 + 4/5). This way, you don’t have to worry about students needing to find the least common denominator of two fractions – they simply have to figure out which fraction to rename so that it has the same denominator as the other fraction.

The first 16 cards present equations with unknown sums and differences. The second 16 cards up the challenge level by presenting equations with missing addends, minuends, and subtrahends. [One of the two reference sheets provides a quick review of the vocabulary used to describe the elements of addition and subtraction equations.] In addition, the cards in the second half of the set use a mix of proper and improper fractions. The two-tiered nature of the cards allows for differentiation to the needs of your students. You can choose to have all the students complete the first 16 cards and then the second 16, or you can have some students work on cards 1 through 16 while those students who are more proficient with fraction relationships can work on cards 17 through 32.

The printables consist of two graphic reference sheet and four different one-page worksheets. The first of the two graphic reference sheets is half-page size and presents the terms “added”, “sum”, “minuend”, “subtrahend”, and “difference” in the context of addition and subtraction equations. The second reference sheet is full-page size and walks students through the steps of adding/subtracting fractions when they have different denominators. The example on this reference sheet, like the equations on the cards themselves, uses fractions for which one denominator is a factor of the other, allowing one fraction to be renamed to have the same denominator as the other. Before you have your students complete the cards, you can have them glue the reference sheets in their journals. Since the terms “minued”, “subtrahend”, and “added” are only used on cards 17 through 32, you may wish to introduce the full-page reference sheet when your students first begin working on the cards and then provide them with the half-page reference sheet before they work on cards 17 through 32. Your students can use the journal inserts as guides while they work on the cards, as well as when they complete other tasks that involve computing with unlike denominators.

The four provided activity sheets can be used to evaluate student understanding of adding and subtracting fraction with unlike denominators. Two of the activity pages are relatively straightforward, with each containing nine addition and subtraction equations for which the students must find the unknowns. The other two activity sheets are designed to address a student’s reasoning about fraction computation. These two pages present the student with a problem as well as the work and explanation of another student who arrived at the wrong answer. The student is then asked to explain in writing what is incorrect about the reasoning shown. The pairs of worksheets are formatted similarly, and have similar types of questions, though the numbers on each are different. You can use these activity pages in a variety of ways: pre- and post-assessment, guided practice, homework, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines.

Once your students have a firm grasp of renaming one fraction to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators, try my Fishy Fractions task cards and printables, a set which focuses on addition and subtraction of fractions for which both fractions have to be renamed.

For more practice with other fraction concepts, please check out the other related resources I have available –

FREE self-checking mixed numeral/improper fraction puzzle set

Fraction Matchin’ equivalent fractions task cards + printables (set a)

Fraction Matchin’ equivalent fractions task cards + printables (set b)

Monkey Mania & Jumping Giraffes equivalent fractions games + task cards bundle

Mastering the Practices instruction & assessment tasks – fraction of a number

Find the Fraction - fraction of a number task cards + printables (set a)

Find the Fraction - fraction of a number task cards + printables (set b)

Fraction Attack – simplifying fraction ppt + printables set

Fraction Puzzlers – fraction story problems task cards + printables (set b)

In and Around - area and perimeter task cards + printables (set c)

Name That Equation - fraction multiplication task cards + printables set

I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with fractions. – Dennis McDonald
Total Pages
18 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
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.)


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