Today marks the beginning of a new kind of school — the stay-at-home kind. More than ever we are going to need to be flexible and patient and kind to our kids, their parents and our teacher colleagues. We are in uncharted waters… but not without good will!
I wanted to offer up a couple of simple dice games for you to play at home, to build number sense and computational fluency while having fun…
For more games like these, check out my resources entitled: Mastering the Facts Addition (2nd Edition) , Mastering the Facts Subtraction and Mastering the Facts Multiplication (2nd Edition) available from my online store.
Stay safe. Be kind.
Reach for the Top You can play this game alone, with a partner or against a partner. Print a copy of the Reach for the Top grid available here.
Order of Operations Bowling: You can play this game alone, with a partner or against a partner. You need one 6-sided die and the optional Bowling Pin recording sheet attached. The object of the game is to “knock down” all the bowling pins from 1 to 10.
How to play: Roll the die 3 times. Record the 3 numbers. Use these three numbers — in any order — to create an equation with an answer of 1. You must use all three numbers. Once you’ve found an equation (or 2 or 3!) with an answer of 1, cross off the bowling pin with the number 1 on it. Now move on to the number 2, then 3, then 4… until you have created equations with all the answers from 1 to 10. Each time you find an equation, you can knock down the pin with that number on it.
If you can knock down all 10 bowling pins with one set of numbers, you get a “strike”. If not, roll the dice 3 more times to get a new set of numbers and continue. Two sets of numbers earns you a “spare”. How many different operations can you use?
In the sample round below, Player A rolled a 1, a 5 and a 6. She used all 3 numbers to create equations (a whole bunch of them!) with an answer of 1. She chooses one of the equations and knocks down the 1 pin. She then moves on to create equations with an answer of 2.
All right folks…
If you’re outside (or wish you were!) here’s another math game worth playing. It’s called Testing the Limits — and I’ve adapted it from BEAM Maths of the Month.
To play, you need sidewalk chalk and a die (6-sided is fine, 10-sided is better!). You can play this game with a partner or alone. Here’s how…
ROUND 1: Roll the die 3 times and make a 3-digit number. Roll 3 more times and make a second 3 digit number. Put both numbers on the same number line. These are your “limits”.
ROUND 2: Now roll 6 more times. Make 2 different 3-digit numbers that fit within the limits from ROUND 1. Plot them on the same number line as ROUND 1. If you can do it, these new numbers become your new limits and you can move onto ROUND 3. If not… the game is over! Check out my sample game below.
Try using just two 2-digit numbers for younger students, or even decimal numbers for older students. Consider trying this with negative numbers, or even one negative and one positive to explore both sides of zero.
Enjoy! Stay safe…
For those of you who are looking for ways to play together and build mathematical thinking and skills at the same time, consider this simple hopscotch game. You’ll need sidewalk chalk and a small stone. Children can play alone or in partners.
Go outside. Draw a large square on the pavement. Divide the square into at least 9 smaller squares, as shown below. This is called a matrix.
In each of the smaller squares record a number from 1 to 9. You can put them in any order. Now take a small stone and toss it onto the matrix. This is your starting square. From here, you must jump to the number that adds to give you 10.
In the game below, a child has thrown a stone onto the number 8. She stands on the number 8 then and has to jump to get to the number 2 — the missing part to get to 10.
If there’s another child nearby, they should record the equation that matches the jump. (8 + 2 = 10)
Player 2 (if there is one) takes his turn, throwing a stone and jumping from that number to the missing part to make ten. Player A records the equation.
The first player to hop on all the combinations is the winner. (And yes, landing on a 5 gets you a double jump!)
If you’re stuck inside, make the matrix on a sheet of paper and toss coins — or even Cheerios! — instead of jumping from number to number. Toss the first coin, say the number you’ve landed on, then say what the missing part is to get to the desired sum.
Of course you can change the numbers to suit the age and stage of the players…
Consider a double-digit version (Get to 100!) or even a decimal version (Get to 5.0!). The sky’s the limit. I’ve included line masters for each of these games — and a blank grid, too — for you to use as inspiration.
Have fun… stay safe…
We have always been partners in the mathematics education of our children — and now we find ourselves in a time that demands even more collaboration between home and school. Ensuring that our children have meaningful math learning experiences when we are inside and inundated with technological distractions can be difficult.
To that end I am inviting you to explore the following resource for parents of primary aged children. It was written years ago in a partnership between the BC Ministry of Education and a group of respected BC educators to support parents of young children to find and highlight mathematics in their daily lives. From sorting and counting to estimating and measuring, Math For Families has dozens of simple activities that families will love. The resource has also been translated into Chinese and Punjabi.
And please, stay well.