Dice games can help you teach math to kids in the classroom by combining play with learning. The dice enhances the learning experience because it lets kids see math in a more real life context rather than as an abstract concept. Plus, dice games can be played in the classroom, at home or in the car, and because buying dice online is relatively cheap, math games such as these build excellent math skills without spending a lot on materials.
Some of the 6 dice games to help teach math to children are more suited to older students that are already comfortable with arithmetic.
1. Add, Subtract, Divide, Multiply Totals
All you need is a set of four 6-sided dice and at least two players for this math dice game. Player one begins by rolling two of the six dice. The higher number is placed before the lower number to become the target total. For example, rolling a 4 and a 5 means the total that all players must achieve would be 54.
Now, in order to get to this total, each player will roll the four dice and use addition, subtraction, division and multiplication to get to the total as quickly as possible. For example, if player one rolls a 2, 3, 5, 6, then they can multiply 5 by 6 and multiply the total by 2 to get 60. Then subtract 3 to get 57. Now on their next turn after all other players have rolled. Player one is looking to use the four math operations to get to 54; similarly for the other players.
Whoever gets to 54 the fastest (some may even get there on the first roll) is the winner.
2. This Is My Land
Split the class into pairs and give each pair a square grid of paper, two color pencils of contrasting colors (let the kids decide) and two dice. The aim of the game is to fill in as much of the grid paper as you can with your own color. The player with the most ‘land’ on the paper is the winner.
Play begins with player one rolling the dice. One dice denotes how many squares across to color in and the other dice denotes the number of squares up or down to color in. For example, if player one rolls a 3 and 5 then they can color in a 3×5 or 5×3 square on the paper. Then player two rolls and colors in their squares.
Play continues until all squares are filled in. However, when space becomes limited, each player must rolls low numbers to fill in empty squares. In other words, if only 1×1 and 1×2 squares remain but a player rolls a 2 and 3 then they must lose their turn. But if it looks like one of the players has won already then you can end the game early.
3. Past Boiling Point And Back Below Freezing
Divide the class into groups of two, three or four and give each group a set of two six-sided dice. The object of the game is to get to 100 (or over), which is water’s boiling point, and then back to 0 (or below), which is water’s freezing point, as quickly as possible.
The kids will use basic math like addition, adding the numbers from each dice, making note of their current total before passing the dice to the next player. And when they get over 100, they then continue to roll but this time subtracts their numbers from their total. For example, a 3 and a 6 will equal 9. Now on their next turn they add the two numbers to 9.
A variation of this game is to use multiplication to get over 100 and then using a combination of multiplication and subtraction to get below 0.
4. Sneaky Snake Eyes
This is another variation of “Past Boiling Point And Back Below Freezing” in which kids in the same group must reach over 100 and get back to below 0 BUT whenever a player rolls a double 1, also known as “Snake Eyes”, they must divide their total by 2. If they have an odd number then they must subtract 1 from their total and then divide by two before they can continue on their way to boiling point.
5. Super Strike Dice
Divide the class into groups of two, three or four and give each group a set of two six-sided dice. Also give each member of the group a sheet of paper and tell them to write the following numbers down the left-hand side:
Each student in turn rolls the two dice and either adds the two numbers or uses multiplication to make one of the numbers on the list above and then scores it off. For example, if they roll two 4s but have already scored off 8 then they can multiply 4 by 4 and then score off 16. The winning player has scored off all their numbers on the list. This will teach kids how to use math and strategy to win the game.
6. Race To One
To help kids improve their subtraction and division skills, give each student in your class a set of two six-sided dice, a sheet of paper and a pencil.
Tell the kids to write the number 200 on the top. Now they will roll both dice and then use the numbers, one for subtraction and the other for division to get to one.
For example, if a student rolls a 3 and a 5 then that student can divide 200 by 5, which equals 40 and then subtract 3 from that number to get 37. On the next turn, they again will use the two numbers in a similar fashion to get closer to one.
At some point, they will find it difficult to use the numbers rolled and land on 1. At this point, they can use any combination of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication to get to one. This will encourage them to use math strategies and problem solving to get the answer.