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 FRACTIONS: Jog, Tempo, Sprint Formula for SuccessLearning is more fun when you combine it with writing and art, but add running and you create a learning experience that kids will never forget. - Carol Goodrow

Teaching fractions to first graders is challenging in itself but this year we had to teach more than "parts of a pizza". We had a new skill to learn which involved parts of a group or set.

So we decided that the quickest way to learn something new would be to create a running game. Today 'Jog, Tempo, Sprint' was born.

Here's what we did. First each child drew a set of two, three or four objects.

Then the child turned the picture into a representation of the fractions: 1/2, 1/3, or 1/4, by drawing an arrow to one of the set or circling one of the set, to show the numerator of one or to show that we are talking about 1 of the set. This was the new learning for a child - that a whole object can be a fraction of a set of objects.

For older children you could show 2/4 by drawing 4 flowers and circling (or drawing arrows to) 2 of them. You could show 3/4 by drawing 4 stars and circling (or drawing arrows to) 3 of them.

This part was not as easy as it seems. The kids had to follow directions and if they didn't make a clear picture that others could understand, they had to redo their pictures.

Next they made the pink cards.

On one side of the pink card the student wrote a fraction and on the other side each student printed ( in their very best printing, of course) either, "Sprint, Tempo, or Jog."

Later in the day we played the game.

Here is how we played according to the kids. A collage of their journal writings follows. We played "Finding Fractions". You play outside. The teacher puts the yellow cards with the pictures on 6 clipboards (it was windy so we needed to clamp the cards down).

Then she puts the clipboards all around the blacktop.

Next, the teacher gives you a pink card. There's a fraction and one of the words, "Sprint, tempo, and jog." You have to do the kind of running that the card tells you and you have to look for a picture that matches the fraction.

After you find it, you sprint, tempo run or jog back to the teacher. She checks it and you get to go again.

Some kids got to be "runners". They got to take the yellow cards back to the clipboards and clamp them on.

It was a lot of fun. I wish we can do it again. It was easy for me the first time. I got to do two sprints and one tempo run.

We stretched before we played the game today.

The kids loved this game and they knew their fractions. Almost everyone retrieved a picture that matched the fraction.

A game like this also makes kids keep running. No one tired for the half hour we played the game and they cheered andjumped for joy when they received a card that said, "SPRINT!"

A Windy Day!

Another note by the editor (teacher): This game worked so well for many reasons: the kids love to run, they particularly love to sprint short distances and they had invested a lot in the game by creating it, as well as by making the materials, but there was another important reason why it went so well. They followed the rules which were:

1. Be careful while you run. Don't get too close to another runner. Watch where you are going!

2. When you get to a clipboard, you must clamp the cards you are not using back on when you are finished.

3. If someone else is at that clipboard, you must wait until they are completely finished clamping the cards back on, before you look for your card.

4. Do the kind of running that the pink card says. Be a good sport if you get 'jog' and you really wanted to do a tempo run. You'll get lots of turns so make sure that you are playing fair.

This was a game without a winner. The kids just had fun playing. In fact not one kid even asked, "Who won?" It was just a great day for all that they will always remember.

If you have a running game you play, please share it with us. We'd love to hear all about it. Also, if you play or adapt our game, please share your version of our fun, fun running game.

rwedit@rodale.com