Do you use dice in your classroom? I know they can be noisy and they end up all over the place, but kids love playing games with dice. I don’t know what it is about them….but as soon as I get the dice out there’s a buzz in the air 😉
Dice are great to use as they help to develop:
- Number sense;
- Problem solving;
- Probability; and
- Number work.
Here are 4 quick and simple dice games that you could use as a quick revision or as an introduction to a math lesson. Or even if you’ve got a spare few minutes they come in handy.
1. Chance your luck
For this game you will need: die, pencil for each student, math book or piece of paper for each student and a calculator.
- Select a number, e.g. 5. When a 5 is tossed the game will stop.
- All students stand, apart from one student who keeps a progressive total on the calculator.
- Toss a die and students record the results. Toss it again. For each toss of the die, students add to their progressive total.
- Students aim to record the highest possible score and ‘save it’ by sitting down before a 5 is tossed.
- The seated student with the highest score when a 5 is tossed is the winner.
- You could also use an 8 or 10 sided die for variety.
2. 4 minutes
Your students will need pencils and math books or a piece of paper for this game. You will also need two dice.
- Roll the dice and add the numbers together.
- Your students need to write as many number sentences for the number (e.g. 12) as they can within 4 minutes.
- For example:
7 + 5
20 – 8
4 x 3
24 / 2 etc.
- They score their sums in this way:
– Addition sums are worth 1 point.
– Multiplication sums are worth 2 points.
– Subtraction sums are worth 3 points.
– Division sums are worth 4 points.
- The student with the most points is the winner.
3. Place Value Dice
You will need one die between two students and paper or math books for students to record their numbers.
- Depending on the level of your students, get them to draw on their paper a place value table. For this example we’ll use 4 numbers which includes: ones, tens, hundreds and thousands.
- The winner is the student to produce the largest number (or you could also do the smallest number).
- Each student takes a turn at rolling the die. The player must decide where they want to write the number, in either the ones, tens, hundreds or thousands.
- The students take turns rolling the die and placing the numbers in the place value table.
- For example, one student may roll 2, 2, 1, 3. They place their numbers in the place value table as in the picture below. But the biggest number that could have been made is: 3 221.
- You could make this more difficult or easy by increasing/decreasing the size of the numbers. Or you could also include decimals for older students.
4. Dice Calculations
Have your students work in small groups. They will need 4 dice for each group and paper to write on. You could also let your students use calculators for this game as well.
- Get one of the players to roll the 4 dice.
- Each player needs to write down a number sentence where the answer will be a single digit. Students can only use each number once.
- For example, the numbers rolled on the dice could be: 2, 6, 3, 5. Some possible number sentences:
6 + 3 + 2 – 5 = 6, this answer would score 6 points.
5 x 3 – 6 – 2 = 7, this answer would score 7 points.
35 – 26 = 9, this answer would score 9 points.
- The best combination is the one that produces the largest single digit number.
- After 5 rounds, the student with the most points is the winner.
- You could also aim to produce the smallest number and also use more dice and dice with up to 10 sides.
I hope these dice games have given you some more ideas for improving your students’ number work. What other dice games do you use?
Graphic Credits: Graphics From the Pond