# 5 Dice/Number Cubes Games and Guided Math

Talk about a great manipulative with endless possibilities. Dice games are great because they can be based on skill, luck or planning (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/dice_game_score_charts.htm). I am just going to discuss 5 great ways to use dice (or as many districts prefer on calling them: number cubes). I especially like dice games because you can differentiate the lessons by differentiating the dice.

1. **Virtual Dice**!!! This is soooo cool! You can roll them and play all kinds of games with your students. For example, roll them and ask for students to name all the different ways to make the sum that comes up. (You’re really playing the equivalent name game.)

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http://www.curriculumbits.com/prodimages/details/maths/mat0005.html

http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/maths/dice/

http://www.random.org/dice/?num=2

**Roll and Compare Sum or Product Template**: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/dice_game_score_charts.htm

3. **Roll and make the biggest or lowest numbe**r you can http://www.unpracticalmath.com/applets/virtual_dice.html

4. **Questions to think about**:

A. What number did you roll?

B. Spell it.

C. Write a number that is one more (the number after)

D. One less (the number before)

E. Equal to ( 2 +3 = 4 +1)

F. Add Ten More. Spell that number.

G. What number is ten less? Spell that number.

H. Tell a number story about these dice/ this number

I. Is the number or sum odd or even and why?

J. If I was skip counting by 2’s, (or 5’s, or 10’s) would I say this number?

K. How far away from a ten is this number?

L. What happens if we double this number?

M. Add lucky 8 to this number (remember how to add 8’s quick)

N. Add lucky 9 to this number (remember how to add 9’s quick)

O. Add zero to this number. What happens anytime we add zero?

5. **Fact Family Templates** (Remember this is practice at the abstract level)

http://mathwire.com/strategies/matsff.html

http://mathwire.com/templates/factfamily.pdf

UEN also has a great fact family dice template.

**Management Tip**: Make a tumbler out of 2 plastic clear (see through) cups sealed with tape around the middle. Put the dice in the tumbler (I get foam dice to decrease noise level). NO MORE DICE ON THE FLOOR. Students look in the tumbler and read the number at the bottom or the number that is showing! Works like a charm everytime.

**Resources: Favorite Dice Supplier:** http://www.boxcarsandoneeyedjacks.com/

I also buy these large, foam, multicolored dice that have numbers up to at least 10 on them from the Oriental Trading Company. They are great for differentiation.

Please write in about your favorite dice games! The first 7 people to leave a comment about this post and dice games you use in the classroom will receive a packet of 10 really cool classroom dice:)

I like to play the “Petals around the Rose” game with lots of dice. The number of dice doesn’t really matter, but you want at least a handful. The teacher or group leader rolls them out into the middle so the whole group can study them. Then, the leader tells the group how many petals there are around the roses. You can also adjust that to say how many petals and how many roses there are. The kids need to use patterns and observations to correctly identify what a petal is and what a rose is. You can give them more information by removing a few of the dice without re-rolling and telling them how many petals and roses remain.

It’s important to use dot dice, not the kind with numbers. I always have the kids who think they know what the petals and roses are test their hypothesis before they tell me by rolling the dice and asking them how many petals and roses there are. If the student is correct, we go to a quiet spot so the child can tell me without the others hearing, then that information becomes a “secret” the student may not share with the others. (I remind the kids how good it felt for them to figure it out and how much we would both like for his or her friends to have that same, amazing feeling.)

For those who really need to know, here are the numbers of petals and roses on each die: 1 = 1 rose, no petals; 2 = 2 petals, but they aren’t around a rose so they don’t count; 3 = 1 rose, 2 petals; 4 = 4 petals but no rose so the petals don’t count; 5 = 1 rose with 4 petals; 6 = 6 petals but no rose so the petals don’t count.

I like the game because the kids have to use a lot of thinking to solve the problem. The kids seem to love the game because it’s fun. We do just a few rolls each day until people figure it out, and I NEVER tell the kids about the petals and roses like I told you guys.

KimSeptember 1, 2010

Thank you for sharing! What a great game to get students to reason.

drnickinewtonSeptember 2, 2010

What a great list of thought provoking questions that can be used with dice to help children think mathematically! I teach 1st and 2nd grade math at the same time and I am trying to find some activities to give one group to work on independently while I work with the other group. These will be a big help to me. Dice are always effective in making adding and subtracting more fun!

BethSeptember 1, 2010

Thank you! I have taught combo classes before. Math Workshop is a great model to use while one group is working on centers, you can pull the other group for instruction.

drnickinewtonSeptember 2, 2010

Greetings (school officially began today it’s been busy!!!) I cannot take the credit for the games, but these are used by our teachers. These games come from Scholastic Instructor and are called Math on a Roll. Most of the games are played with polyhedral die, but can be modified easily with standard dice. My favortie one for turning muliplication facts into a fun dice game is High Roller. The students have a chart with a set of equations with the 2nd factor missing ( 1 x _ = _) Students roll the die, plugging in the first number they roll into one of the equations on the chart. They repeat the process 4 times, then add the products of the 5 problems. The player with the highest total is the High Roller and wins the game. The students quickly figure out how to plug in the numbers to get the greatest total. And thank you for the many questions to ask students and engage them in more number sense.

Lisa PietrosimoneSeptember 1, 2010

Thank you! This is a great game that gets students to strategize.

drnickinewtonSeptember 2, 2010

One game that we play is rolling four dice, and putting them in specific spaces (Tens, Ones / Tens, Ones). Then students subtract the smaller number from the larger number. For instance, 5, 4, 3, 6, -> 54 – 36. The dice-rolling is tactile, and students almost never get the same numbers twice. Another game we play is rolling two dice and subtracting them, using it as practice for negative numbers. ( 6-5 = 1 4 – 6 = -2 3-3 = 0 1-6=-5) .

TraceeApril 22, 2012