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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Potion Making: A Math Game

at Time to Craft

When I saw this math game at Time to Craft, I was very intrigued. I left a comment there, telling of my interest to know more and Cheryl treated us to full explanations and even print-outs of the game that her daughter, Arabella, made. She even game me permission to share the idea with you. I love the blogisphere because you can meet the nicest people. I showed what she sent me to my boys, and they were very interested and even had some ideas of their own. The point of the game is to be able to match the different ways a fraction can be written whether it be a decimal, percent or non-reduced fraction.

Their game board is similar to snakes and ladders, with about 26 squares, 20 of which have shapes which are divided into fractions (1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5 and 1/6.) One square is a "Miss a Turn" square. You can make it any style you would like, to personalize it as it suits your needs. Cheryl's daughter is interested in Harry Potter, so she chose to make it like a moving staircase, and kept the snake but added a trap door for one square, that leads to the tail of the same snake. We made ours a Magician's castle and had the path going every direction, and ended up having many more squares. It is interesting what happens when a whole group of people work on a project together!
The potion list that Cheryl sent me was very cute and clever but it was based on the Harry Potter books, which we don't read, so we modified it to suit us. Sam made me a list of some interesting potions we could make such as "Sleep", ""Fly" and "Fireball." We started out with a sheet with several circles divided into 8ths, 6ths and 5ths. These would be the parts or components list for the potions.  Players need to pick up components of the potions according to what fractions they land on, picking up various parts of the ingredient until he made a whole. This added an element of adding/subtracting fractions.
Next you need to make a deck of cards which have each fraction written out as a decimal, percentage and another fraction (eg. 1/2, 0.5, 50%, 2/4). Arabella used an old pack of playing cards. We used cut out pieces of cardstock.

Cheryl and her daughter adapted a regular 6-sided die so that there were two sides with one, two sides with two and two side with three as the game is too quick with a regular 6-sided die. We decided to use a ten-sided die since we had many more squares to travel.
Now that all the materials are ready, you are ready to play.

The Rules of the Game:
I have adapted this just a bit, but most of it was created by Cheryl's daughter.
1. Each player takes a spellbook sheet with circle divided into different fractions and some colored pencils (although you could use just a regular pencil.)
2. Give each player 7 cards.
3. Youngest goes first. Roll the dice and move your counter that number of squares.
4. If the player has a card that matches the square's diagram, then fill in  the amount on the  potion graph for a potion of choice. Discard the card and pick up a new one. Pass the die to the next player.

5. If a player offers a card that does not match, and the other players catch it, they must go back two squares.
6. If there is no match, pass the die to the next player.
7. If a player has two cards that add up to the square, he can use both cards at once. (For example, if you land on a square with a shape that is half-filled in, and you have cards with 0.25 and 1/4 on them, you can use both cards to equal the 1/2).
8. First one to get all the ingredients for two of the spells, has the ability to begin heading back home to the beginning square. Once the first person returns to the home square, everyone tells how many spells they have all the ingredients for, and the one with the most wins!

More here.


  1. I'm so glad that you had fun with this idea. Hope its helped the boys with fraction and decimal comparisons. Learning is fun!

  2. That is a cool idea. I have to remember this for fractions.

  3. This is brilliant! What a fun and creative way to learn about comparung fractions! I love all the intricate details in the illuatrations.


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