A simple way to make worksheets more engaging is to add in a dice factor. Students love to play games, so why not transform the typical math lesson into a dice rolling activity instead? Dice are typically used in math games, but can also be used to practice sight words or even to build relationships with peers. Here are 20 engaging ways to use dice in the classroom.
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1. Foster conversation and help students build relationships through this “Roll & Talk” activity.
“Roll & Talk” is most successful when students are paired up and given one die. They should switch back and forth rolling and answering questions. Directions should include encouragement to ask follow up questions beyond just the given prompts! Students can also switch partners throughout this activity.
2. Provide a list of opinion questions related to novels.
Choose six opinion questions and assign each to one number on a die. While reading books in small groups or during read aloud, give a chance for students to roll dice and answer opinion questions. Opinion questions could include:
- What character do you think is most relatable?
- Would you change any parts of the story so far?
- Are there any characters you wish weren’t in the story?
- Would you recommend this book?
- Do you have a favorite part of the story?
- Did you agree with the character’s actions to solve the problem?
If a student rolls a 2, they would then answer the question “would you change any part of the story so far?”
3. Play a Place Value game, like “Roll & Round That Number.”
Check out The Teacher Next Door for a few place value game ideas that use dice in the classroom! In the game “Roll & Round That Number,” the number of dice students use should match whatever place value you are working on. The first student rolls all three dice at the same time and builds a number with it. The second student does the same and then each student rounds their number to the highest place value (a roll of 2, 6 and 8 can make the number 862 and would round to 900). Students compare rounded numbers and the highest correctly rounded number wins.
4. Play “Dice and Dot” to practice articulation.
This awesome resource comes in many different themes! Kids simply roll a die, practice pronouncing a word in that column, and dot it off.
5. Use “Roll-a-Story” as an early finisher task.
In this fun writing activity, students will need to roll a die three times.
- The first roll will tell them the main character that they’ll include in their story.
- The second roll will be the setting.
- The final roll will be the problem.
Assign 6 different options for each category that correlates to each number on the die.
- Characters could include
- a grumpy old man,
- a beautiful princess,
- a two-headed monster,
- Settings options could be
- a cave,
- a farm,
- a magical kingdom,
- The problems could include:
- the character is lost,
- the character is being chased,
- the character was poisoned,
Check out this free Roll-a-Story download from @MsJordanReads.
6. Implement HOMEWORKOPOLY as a class motivator
In this awesome idea, students can earn a dice roll by completing homework and weekly goals. By landing on different colored spaces, students can earn prizes, pick a card from the chest, receive homework passes, and more! Including the teacher Bitmoji is an added bonus to the dice use idea!
7. Set-up this beanstalk game to practice adding and subtracting.
In this creative game, you’ll need a regular die and then another means of deciding if students will add or subtract. (DIY another die or make a paper cube.) Roll both to decipher if the student will move up or down the beanstalk. For example, if a student is standing on leaf 4 and rolls a “plus 2” they will add 4+2 and land themselves on leaf 6. The first student to the top of the beanstalk wins!
8. Inspire artistic abilities through “Roll & Draw.”
Check out expressivemonkey.com for some creative art ideas on drawing animals with varying expressions. Based on the number you roll, the animal features and expressions your students are expected to draw will change.
9. Students can play “Doubles Race” independently.
In this dice game, students will roll one die, double it, and color in one rectangle above the sum. For example, if a student rolls a 2, they would double it to get 4 and color in a rectangle above 4. The students will race to the top of the page to see which number will win!
10. Use dice in the classroom to play “Greater Than or Less Than.”
In this math game, two students each get one die. They both roll at the same time and decipher who rolled the greater number. They could record this on paper using the >, < or = signs. The student with more “greater than” rolls in the end wins!
11. Practice reading blends in a board game.
In this simple and effective game, students roll a die and read the word they land on. If the word has a beginning blend, students can stay on the word. If the word does not have a blend, students move back 2 spaces. If you land on a monster, then go back to start!
12. Incorporate a reusable “Roll a Word” game into your centers
Slip this “Roll a Word” game into a dry erase pocket to be reused by students during center time. Students roll a die that correlates to a letter then insert the letter before a suffix, like -an. Students must then decipher if it’s a real or nonsense word.
13. Play “Roll & Count” to practice adding coins.
Each number on the die should be assigned to a coin. For example, 1 is a dime, 2 is a quarter, 3 is a nickel, etc. Students can roll the die five times, recording the coins as they roll, and then add up the five coins.
14. Play “Speech-Zee,” an academic version of Yahtzee!
In this easy scoring dice game, students will roll a die 3 times each turn. Following the rules of Yahtzee, students will also practice pronunciations of different vowel sounds depending on the number rolled. Follow pandaspeech for the complete game rules of this game that is perfect for upper elementary!
15. Play “Roll & Read” to increase fluency.
“Roll & Read” can be played in many different ways. Students roll a die and read across the line of the number rolled. You could have letters, sight words, or fluency sentences in the boxes of each row. Switch it up depending on the grade level or reading levels of individual students!
16. A classic classroom dice game is “Roll & Retell.”
In this dice game, students will have a chance to share their comprehension of a book with a partner or small group. Assign one comprehension question to each number on a die. As students roll, they’ll answer one comprehension question. Questions could include:
- What is the story mostly about?
- Who are the characters?
- Where does the story take place?
- When does the story take place?
- What was the problem in the story?
- Do you have any questions about the story?
17. Place a die inside another die for extra addition practice!
Grab these large dice here that can open up to allow for another die to be placed inside of each. Students roll one large die and add together the digits on the top of both the large die and the smaller one on the inside. All age levels love this creative use of dice in the classroom!
18. “Roll a Value” is a place value review game.
Students will roll two dice, the first roll will be the tens place value and the second roll will be the ones place value. If a student rolls a 2 and then a 6, they will work with the number 26. The teacher can decide how many different ways the student should write this number. Options include drawing the number, writing the number in expanded form, writing it in word form, and writing in place value form.
19. Use dice to partner up students.
Create a system where students roll a dice to find partners. For example, “Roll a die, if you rolled an even number, partner up with someone who rolled an odd number.” Another option could be “Everyone who rolled a six will be working together.”
20. Play “Triple Up” to practice addition facts.
A super simple way to engage students in triple addition practice is to have the kids roll a die three times and add up all three numbers. By including this hands-on aspect with a die, students will remain on task during math.
The best part about using dice in the classroom to engage students is that often you only need a pencil and paper to accompany these awesome activities! Many of these will be perfect for engaging students individually as well as to comply with CDC guidelines that will require students to be 6 feet apart. Happy rolling!