Dice Toss Math Game

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I just love the book, Games for Math by Peggy Kaye.  Kaye writes about a neat addition game called, "Paper Clip Toss".  Children toss a paper clip onto a game board filled with random numbers and then collect the number of paper clips indicated on the game board.  Adding up the paper clips from two different turns, the children determine who wins the game based on the number of collected paper clips.  I especially loved the fact that the game materials could be found in any supply closet.


The game is great for students in K-1 grades. The question I had was: how do I turn this game into a learning opportunity for third grade students? 

I came up with this new version called Die Toss.  Yes, that's right--instead of using a paperclip, use a die instead! 

Hand out a die with each game board and instruct the students to throw the die onto the board.  Take the number on the die and multiply it by the number the die landed on.

For example, in the picture below, your student would multiply 2 X 2.   

Continue clockwise until every person gets to roll twice. 

Count up your counters and announce the winner!  Play again and again!   

What I especially liked about this activity, was that students made their own game boards.  This gave them the opportunity to figure out how to measure and draw the game board grid based on the size of poster board.  Step-by-step we walked through the whole process of measuring the sides with a ruler and marked off straight lines. 

We then covered the pencil lines with washi tape (ah, yet another good reason to collect decorative tape...as if I needed any more reasons! :)  I found that black electrical tape also worked well. 

Then came the coolest part:  Each child created their own boards with the multiplication tables they individually were working on.  If your students are just now working on multiplication facts, have them use the numbers 1, 2, and 10 on their boards.  If students have much of their tables memorized, ask them what sets are giving them the most trouble. 

"Oh, you are struggling with memorizing your 7's and 8's?  Well, then use the numbers 7, 8 twice on your game board and then throw in some other numbers to mix it up a little."

I found that 3-4 players made this game go at a good pace.  A couple of ingenious students decided to line up all their game boards together to make their game board bigger and more varied.  It was great! To challenge students, you can instruct them to use two dice and multiply the three numbers together.

For other fun math lesson ideas, check out Our Poppin' Tags Math Lesson and Number Lotto

To make this game work for first grade students, simply add the number on the die to the number on the game board and collect the number of counters indicated by the simple addition problem. 

A Kindergarten Student uses flat marbles to play an addition version of this fun game!