Fraction Puzzlers - fraction story problems task cards + printables (set a)

Grade Levels
3rd, 4th, 5th
Common Core Standards
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Help build your students’ ability to apply fractional computation in real-world problems with this print-and-go set of task cards & printables – all told, these resources include 42 different fraction-based story problems! The 32 task cards in this set present story problems that can be related to addition & subtraction of fractions and mixed numbers with like denominators and multiplication of fractions by whole numbers. Extend your students’ practice (or assess their level of mastery) with the two included assessment tasks. With these resources, your students will grow stronger in their understanding of key fractional computation concepts.


Common Core State Standards for Mathematics addressed:
Numbers and Operations – Fractions (4.NF)
Build fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers.
• 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. 
• 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. 
Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to multiply fractions.
• 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.

• 32 task cards
• graphic reference sheet
• task card answer sheet and key
• 2 two-sided assessment activities and scoring guide

About the Cards

These cards were designed to build students flexibility with interpreting fraction story problems. Each of the 32 cards in this set features a fraction story problem that involves addition & subtraction of like denominators, multiplication of fractions and whole numbers, or a mix of these operations. The story problems were selected to provide practice with a variety of problem types, and many of the problems on the card are multi-step. Some of the problems use just proper fractions, but a number use mixed numbers, and a majority of the problems require two or more steps to find the solution. By presenting a variety of situations, many of which involve two or more steps to work through and/or include unnecessary information, your students will build their ability to think through what a problem is asking and not simply look for clue words in order to apply an operation by rote. The cards do not build in difficulty, so they can be done in or out of numeric order.

The denominators on these cards are limited to the ones identified by the Common Core Standards for Grade 4 as “limiters”: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 12. One advantage of using only these denominators is that these fractional units are commonly used on commercially-made fraction bars, fraction circles, and fraction squares. This allows for easy differentiation within the math class. If you have students that are still building an understanding of fractional sizes and relationships, you may choose to give them a set of fraction manipulatives with which to complete the cards. Your students who already have a strong understanding of fractional sizes can complete the cards without the concrete representation.

Using the Cards

There are lots of ways in which you can implement the task cards. You can have the students work on them independently, working through the task cards on their own. The students can work on them in pairs or small groups, completing all the task cards in one session. You can use them in centers, having the students complete 6-8 task cards a day over the course of the week. You can even use them as a variation of “problem of the day”, giving each student 1 sheet of 4 cards to glue in their journals and solve, one sheet per day for eight days.

Reinforcing and Assessing Understanding

The printables consist of a graphic reference sheet and two different two-page assessment activities. The graphic reference sheet demonstrates how to use two different types of visual representations to model a particular story problem situation. The sheet includes open-ended questions so that you could use this reference sheet as a springboard for a class discussion about mathematical representations. You might have your students read over the sheet in partners or small groups and share their observations about how the models compare to each other and how they represent the presented story problem. You might even have your students respond to the questions on the reference sheet in writing, recording their thinking in their journals next to the sheet itself. Your students can use the journal insert as a guide while they work on the cards, as well as when they complete other tasks that relate to operations with fractions.

The two provided assessment activities can be used to evaluate student understanding of fraction computation. The activity pages 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-test/post-test, guided practice, homework, center assignments, or any other purpose that fits your teaching style or classroom routines.

For more practice with fractions, please check out these related resources I have available –

Froggy Fractions - adding/subtracting like denominators task cards + printables

Flamingo Fractions + and – mixed numbers like denominators task cards/printables

Decomposing Fractions - activity card & printables bundle

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

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

Flipping for Fractions activity card set

Self-Checking Number Line Riddles - Fractions on a Number Line (set a)

FREE self-checking mixed numeral/improper fraction puzzle set

I hope your students enjoy these resources and are able to build their proficiency with fractions. – Dennis McDonald
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Fraction Puzzlers - fraction story problems task cards + p
Fraction Puzzlers - fraction story problems task cards + p
Fraction Puzzlers - fraction story problems task cards + p
Fraction Puzzlers - fraction story problems task cards + p