Greg Tang Math: SATIS-FRACTION Tournament

By: Mary Kienstra on: February 23, 2014  in: CCSS, Engagement, iPads, Math, tournament

You just never know what will hook students and get them involved in the learning.  This week, my students were absolutely obsessed with a fraction game on  The skill they were practicing was multiplying and dividing fractions.  They were “playing” the game SATIS-FRACTION.  

We are preparing for the state tests here in Illinois.  Typically, that means reviewing many of the concepts students have learned during the year.  One thing I know is that reviewing with instant feedback is the best way since students see immediately if they don’t have the answer.  Even better, they work to find that answer and re-learn and review.

This year I have 8 iPads in my room.  We use these seamlessly as part of the learning in class – they are not used for rewards or for fun, but for another way to practice the concepts. Web-based sites like are outstanding on the iPads as they load quickly and are very student friendly to use.  Kids think they are “playing” while they are truly learning.

Last week as students were reviewing operating with fractions, they created their own tournament.  These kids love competition!  As I worked with another group across the room, I noticed a group working on Greg Tang’s SATIS-FRACTION game multiplying and dividing fractions. They were keeping track of their times and comparing to each other.  With no teacher involvement whatsoever (except for directing them to practice their skills on that site), they had organized their learning in a highly engaging way. Each student was working as quickly as they could and recording their times to compare to each other.  Additionally, they were practicing comparing decimals numbers to determine who had the lowest time. This is authentic learning as they had a true purpose to their learning – to win the game!  They were so involved in their tournament, they didn’t want to finish math class.

While they were “playing” their fraction games, they were actually learning and reviewing.  The evidence was clear that they had learned these concepts after a quick exit slip at the end of class.  ALL of my students have mastered the CCSS objectives related to multiplying and dividing fractions.

I know some days my class looks like chaos.  There are kids on the floor holding iPads, enthusiastic about improving their times on games like SATIS-FRACTION.  They are loud and excited.  They are learning!  I prefer this level of craziness – I like the excitement in my students – it’s contagious!

Sometimes you have to give up a bit of control and let the kids take control of their learning.  Sometimes they will surprise you with the ways they engage themselves and each other in their learning.  Trust them.  

Special thanks to Greg Tang for his constant inspiration.  His ideas make my class come to life! 

P.S.  Notice the time in this picture.  One of my students was practicing SatisFraction at home.  His score was so completely outstanding that he took a screen shot and sent it to me to share with the class.  Did you see what I just wrote?  He was practicing dividing fractions at HOME.  That’s student motivation!

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