Sunday, September 8, 2013

Using Dice in My Math Classroom

Some of my favorite things to use in my classroom are dice. We use dice for just about everything. They are incredible versatile and be used for nearly every math topic. As I get ready to teach place value, I will definitely be using more dice. And the best part is that my students love to use the dice as well. Of course, we have to have a "mini lesson" on the proper way to use dice (no throwing, no launching into the air, etc.), but, once they know the right way to use the dice, we always have a lot of fun.
While most people think of just the 6-sided number cube that is used in most games, there are actually a large number of different dice, ranging from 4-sided to 12-sided. In my class, we use 6-sided cubes, 10-sided dice, and 12-sided dice. Here is a list of some of the things I've used dice for in the past.
  • Making numbers for rounding
  • Place value games
  • Addition problems
  • Subtraction problems
  • Multiplication facts
  • Division practice with remainders
The list of ideas is infinite, limited only by your imagination. Dice are a great way to add some rigor and challenge to your students' math skill practice. It definitely beats always giving them worksheets.
The problem that I ran into was the fact that I only have a small number of dice. I think I currently have six of the 10-sided dice and six 12-sided dice, in addition to a number of 6-sided cubes. This limits the number of students who can participate. Unfortunately, the price for the dice were also a bit expensive. At our local teacher supply store, the dice were between $1.50 and $2.00 each. This doesn't sound like a lot, but when you have to buy a lot of them, that price adds up quickly.
The other day on I came across an item called Pound-O-Dice. While I don't know if it exactly 1 pound of dice, I do know that it was exactly what I was looking for! The Pound-O-Dice gave me a huge collection of dice. I received 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, and 20-sided dice. And not just a few. In total, I think I received over 100 dice in the Pound-O-Dice. The price was about $21.00, but I recently receive an gift card for taking an online survey. Even at $21, the Pound-O-Dice was well worth the money.

12-sided dice - Great for multiplication

The package came with all these
number cubes.

Look at all the 10-sided dice!
What ways do you use dice in your classroom?  Do you students enjoy using them?

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