Using Dice to Teach Math Skills
I love dice. Dice come in all sizes and shapes. There are the basic 6 sided dice that we are all familiar with. You can find these made of plastic, wood, rubber, foam and paper. They may be as small as a bean or as large as a beach ball. But did you also know that there are also a ton of other kinds of dice out there? There are place value dice, fraction dice, operation (+,-) dice, 24 sided dice and even blank dice. We cannot forget color dice, shape dice and dice with numerals instead of dots. The varieties are endless! But by far my favorite dice are the double dice or the dice with dice inside.
The variety of dice is endless andso are the learning opportunities when using them. I could probably write an entire blog about dice and dice games, but will spare you. Instead, I will share a few basic dice games and perhaps add another post or two later on with some more games.
Note: I have created PDFs for the game boards below. If you are interested in them, please send me an email and I will be happy to send them to you. I also have a template for making your own die that I am happy to share as well.
Materials: one die, blank paper, highlighters/colored pens (one color per person)
Preparation: Write the numerals 1-6 several times on a piece of paper (see below)
Directions: Player one rolls the die, “reads” the number on the die then finds the correlating numeral on the paper. Once found, the player highlights the number. Player two repeats the same steps. Play until all numbers are highlighted.
Die Faces: Draw dice faces instead of numerals. Roll a die with numerals on the face instead of a dot die and follow the same directions as above.
Dice Addition:Write the numerals 2-12 severals times on the paper. Instead of using one die, use two dice. Player one rolls two dice, adds up the number of dots, finds the answer on the paper and highlights it. Player two repeats these steps for his turn.
Dice Subtraction: Write the numerals 0-5 several times on the paper. Use two dice. Player one rolls the two dice, subtracts the smaller number from the bigger number of dots, finds the answer and highlights it. Player two repeats these steps for his turn.
Note: This is great practice for younger children who are just learning about subtraction. Practicing finding the larger number and subtracting the smaller number from it is not an easy concept at first. For example:
Child rolls: 3 and 6
Child must determine first that 6 is larger than 3 then subtract 3 from 6 and not the other way around.
Advanced Dice Subtraction: Negative Numbers! Try the above game, but have the child subtract the larger number from the smaller number. A great challenge for strong math students.
Make your own: Another fun variation is to have your child create the number board. Here my son is creating his own game board for number recognition.
Why dice games are good for boys: Boys learn best when their learning involves physical activity and manipulation of objects.
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