Ratio Scavenger Hunt and Online Ratio Games

We just started a new chapter in our Go Math textbooks, and the good news is that it starts out really easy.

The bad news is it starts out a little too easy.  So easy that it gets dull really quickly.

According to the Common Core standard 6.RP.A.1 , students must understand the concept of a ratio and use ratio language to describe a ratio relationship between two quantities.  The most logical (and the most common) way to introduce the concept of a ratio is to use drawings or models.

To introduce the concept, I always have my ratio scavenger hunt.pngstudents compete in the Ratio Scavenger Hunt. I allow the students to work on their own or in pairs as they search for ratios around the
room. For example, what’s the ratio of kids to desks? What’s the ratio of girls to boys? Kids will understand ratios when they finish this 10 min introduction.  Almost 9,000 people have downloaded the scavenger hunt.  Visit the link above to get your free copy today!

After our Scavenger Hunt, instead of spending all class period just drawing models or building them, I searched for online ratio activities that would be fun for my sixth graders.  I wanted to keep them engaged and interested, and I wanted them to be able to “level up” to more challenging ratio model activities.

As I wrote earlier, I make online study guides for my students.  I’m including a copy of my current chapter study guide here, if you’d like to download it and check it out.  Today, I let my student check out all of the 4.1 games, and they loved them!

At SoftSchools.com , students can model ratios in the Ratios Coloring game .  Students are receive a prompt, and they can select the appropriate colors to draw the given ratio.  They have to follow the rule that the order of the ratio matters!  Students are also introduced to equivalent ratios.  For example, they may be prompted to model 5:1 , but they may need to color the equivalent ratio of 10 red stars and 2 green stars in to advance to the next round.

Coloring Ratios.png

Over at IXL.com , students are presented with a ratio model, and they need to identify the ratio being modeled.  I like this site because it is the reverse of the ratio coloring game shown above, plus it shows students how to write ratios with a colon, instead of just using the word “to”.  This site also provides students with both part-to-whole and part-to-part ratios.  Unfortunately, students are limited to 20 questions per day on IXL, unless they have an account, but 20 questions is plenty of practice.


Their favorite site of the day was Ratio Rumble, at MathSnacks.com . It reminded me a lot of Candy Crush or Bejeweled, both of which my students enjoy.  Students get to select an avatar and follow the ratio “recipe” to make a “potion”.  Each ratio is comparing one color of potion to another color, so essentially, students are modeling ratios.  The game is really addicting!

Ratio Rumble.png


As students level up, the recipes get progressively more complex, so students get an extra challenge that they’re actually excited about, instead of having it just feel like more work.

Be sure to check out the other ratio and rate games on our ratio and rate study guide!  And if you have other fun ways of introducing ratios, let me know in the comments.




Quick Tip: Ask, “Who Doesn’t?”

Here’s a quick tip for teachers young and old: Ask, “Who doesn’t…?”

What I mean by that is when you’re addressing the whole clasquestion-mark-who-doesnts, trying to figure out if you have passed out enough papers, or asking if everyone has turned in their work, don’t ask, “Does everyone have one?” or “Is everybody finished?” because you’re setting yourself up for a loud, rowdy class.

In each of these examples, you are going to get a lot of kids shouting, “Yes!” and you’ll miss the real information you’re looking for.

What you should ask instead is, “Who doesn’t have one?”  Or ask, “Who doesn’t have their work in the basket yet?”

There are many times when experienced teachers are trying to calm the class down and transition into a new topic, and instead they just rile everybody up!

It’s a very small, easy change, but when we ask these questions multiple times a day for 180 days a year, it adds up to either a lot of clarity or a lot of confusion.

To make things even clearer and calmer, I often don’t even ask for a verbal response.  When I’m passing out my daily warm ups, I always say, “Raise your hand if you didn’t get one.”  This keeps the room quiet, and no one gets distracted by their neighbor calling out information that really only matters to me and that one student.

Try it tomorrow.  Ask, “Who doesn’t…?” and you’ll have classroom that’s a little bit calmer and quieter.

Free Teacher Tech: Online Stopwatches


After a brain break or at the end of a game or partner activity, timers.pngstudents need to learn to reel themselves back in.  They need to self-monitor and prepare themselves to mentally get back into a quiet, focused learning mode.

Having a visible timer on your SmartBoard or Promethean Board is an excellent way to keep track of how much time your students have left to enjoy their break.

Your students won’t be taken by surprise when you tell them that the activity or break has reached its end.

I highly recommend that you visit Online-Stopwatch.com .  This site has been a favorite site of mine since I first started using my Promethean Board.

It’s free, and it even offers a Classroom Timers section, with several fun, interesting ways to keep track of the time students have left.

I make a folder in the bookmarks bar in Chrome, and I keep several of my favorite online stopwatches bookmarked there.

There are traditional timers, such as a simple digital stopwatch, an hourglass, or a circle countdown.

But there are also many surprisingly interesting countdown timers, such as a car race, a swimming race, and even a hilarious, agonizingly slow snail race.

Sometimes I find my early finisher students actually watching the timers instead of chatting with their friends!

A word of advice: stay away from the dynamite timer, and be sure to mute your speakers if you use the fireworks timer.  The former doesn’t show great judgment on your part, and the latter can be startling when the pop of the fireworks is heard.  There are plenty of other fun timers that do the job with none of the potential headaches.