Years ago, I created this fraction war card game to give my math concepts students practice comparing fractions by finding common denominators.
How to Play War
War is a common card game that is typically played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The deck is shuffled and divided evenly between two players.
Players take their stack of cards and keep it face down in front of them. Each player turns over the top card from their deck at the same time.
The player who turns over the highest value card gets to both keep their card and claim the card belonging to the other player. These two cards are placed at the bottom of their deck.
If both players turn over cards with the same value, a tie break must be determined. My family always played under the rules that both players turn over a new card and the player with the highest value card claims ALL four cards that have been turned over.
Fraction War Instructions
This fraction war takes the basic set-up of the war card game and replaces the standard deck of 52 playing cards with 24 cards featuring fractions with range from 1/12 to 1.
The smaller number of cards produces a much shorter game that is suitable for a quick activity to be played in the math classroom. A traditional game of war with a deck of playing cards can last FOREVER.
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I specifically chose fraction values for this activity that can be formed using the fraction tiles available from EAI Education.
I print my decks of fraction war cards on various different colors of Astrobrights paper which I then laminate and cut apart.
I learned years ago to print decks of cards on different colors of paper. This way, if I find a green fraction card on the ground, I can easily narrow down which bag of cards it came from instead of having to look through every single deck.
Place students in pairs and give each pair of students a deck of fraction cards. Instruct the students to shuffle the cards and deal the cards evenly between themselves.
Each student should have a stack of 12 fraction cards which are face down in front of them. Both students should flip over their top card.
Instruct the students to compare their fractions to determine which fraction is larger. This deck of fraction cards will not result in any TIES since all of the fractions are fully reduced. If you would prefer to have unreduced fractions to make things a bit trickier, you could also use the deck of cards I shared in my Equivalent Fractions Card Sort Activity to play Fraction War.
Students may choose to find common denominators to determine which fraction is larger. Often, my students would use our fraction tiles from EAI Education to build the fractions in order to compare them.
Whichever student turned over the largest fraction claims both of the fraction cards and adds them to the bottom of their pile of cards.
Play continues until one player runs out of cards. The player who ends up with all of the cards WINS.
If you want to control the length of time that students spend on this activity, you can also set a timer for five minutes and have students compete to have the most cards after five minutes.
If you want a longer (and much fairer) game, give students two decks of cards jumbled together.
Free Download of Fraction War Card Game
I am offering free printable versions of this fraction war card game in both PDF format and as an editable Publisher file.
More Versions of War Card Game
Over the years, I’ve created several different versions of this war card game that you might be interested in checking out!