## Friday, April 13, 2012

### Roll Up Some Math

I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Dice – Part 1 (Math)

After two weeks of looking at playing cards, I decided to try one more cheap “board game” – dice!  Just like cards, dice can be used in so many ways to increase both math and literacy.  Here are some ideas on how to use dice with math.  Check back next week for some literacy ideas.

For all of these ideas, you can use regular six sided die, or specialized die with more or less sides.  Specialized die make it much easier when working with bigger numbers and older students.

1.)  Roll & Add (or Subtract, or Multiply)  - One of the easiest way to practice basic math facts is with a couple of dice.  I start my students out with a six sided die, and then move them up to a ten sided die after they have mastered most of their facts.  Students take two die, roll the die and then add (or subtract, or multiply – depending on the skill needed).  I let my students work with a partner when doing this, and they race against each other to see who can call out the correct answer first.
2.)  Make a Number Bigger than This – For this activity, use multiple six sided or eight sided die.  Depending on how big of a number your students can handle, each student will need one die for each place value place (ie. 4 die for a number with a thousand’s place).  Students will roll all of their dice.  Give students a number (either write it on a board, or have cards available for students to draw from if you want to put this into a center) and then challenge them to use the numbers they rolled to make a number larger than the number you have given them.  I generally give the students on “re-roll” if they don’t have any digits that will help them make a number bigger than the given number.
3.)  Skip Count on From Here – When practicing skip counting and multiples, an easy way is to give students one die (six sided or ten sided work best) and have them roll the number.  Students should then skip count to one hundred.  For example, if they roll a 2, they skip count to one hundred by twos.  I generally do this in small groups or partners, rather than put individual students on the spot.
4.)  Make a Word Problem – I love giving students a chance to make their own word problems, but they have a tendency to make work problems with numbers they will know, which can defeat the purpose.  Instead, hand the student two (or three) die and let them roll up their numbers.  Different die makes this easy to differentiate – your struggling students can roll up numbers 1-6, while your extension group uses a 20 sided die.  Grab this free template from Google Docs to help guide students through creating their own problem solvers.

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use dice to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.