One of the most favorite games of my former students was Percent Bingo. This is a game that can be played several times (especially if your classroom routines are well established) as a warm up and activating activity. Percent Bingo is designed to build fluency and number sense between decimals, percents, and fractions. One of the primary reasons I liked using this game is that it helps the students become comfortable dealing with fractions.
The game was primarily used with seventh graders (12-13 year old), although the standards for converting between decimal-fraction-percents were in the 5th and 6th grade. However, the game is not only beneficial for fraction practice, it is also helpful in solving percentage problems (example– What is 35% of 180, or What percent is 35 out of 50?). Not only that, through repetition, students will begin to move percents such as 3/5 or 16/20 into long term memory.
The game is played as a standard bingo game, (except using a 4×4 board), with one free space. Players fill in their board with the percent values– Using the percents from 5% to 150% which are also divisible by 5. Using percents over 100% introduces improper and mixed numbers in the game (3/2 = 150% or 1 ¼ = 125%).
The teacher calls out a number in fraction or decimal form, and the students convert the value into percent form. It’s perfectly fine for the students to use paper-and-pencil to do any calculations– We are not trying to get the students to memorize anything except how to convert between the different forms.
When a player has four-in-a-row, they call out “Bingo!” The teacher should pause, and ask if there are any other “Bingos”. This prevents a student changing any answers when other players read out their answers. For each player who has a Bingo, they read their percent and then tell the correct fraction/decimal that has been called.
Once my classroom routines had been well-established, the class could play 2 or 3 games in the first 10 minutes of the period. After this, the class is relaxed and their math brains have been activated. And we have practiced converting decimals and fractions to percents, reducing fractions, mixed numbers and improper forms!
Of course, always have candy ready for those who gets a bingo!
The next post will discuss more of the mechanics of using Percent Bingo in your class.