Since our return from the Christmas and New Year holidays we have been working on a variety of number skills. One of which is to combine two groups of numbers together. We have done this in a variety of ways, and dice are a great way to get the kids combining numbers over and over again. I started the children off by playing a game of 'Face Off' which involves two children, two dice, and some counters. Each pair is given a laminated sheet with the numbers 2-12 on either long edge. The objective is to take turns rolling the dice and adding the two numbers together, then a counter is placed on the corresponding number on their side of the sheet. The first child to cover all of the numbers from 2-12 with counters, wins.
After the children had a chance to practice this game a couple times over a week, they then became independent and confident in their ability to count the total number of dots each time two dice were rolled. At this point I introduced 'Roll and Record' from the program called 'Investigations'. This is where the children now work individually doing the same task but now recording their answers in a bar graph form. Children who wanted a challenge were given the option to keep going until one of the bars reached the top of the graph. Others were told they had to roll the dice at least ten times. When asked how they could check how many times they had rolled, we figured out together that we just had to count how many squares we had filled in so far.
What else can you do with dice? Well, we have also been working on the concept of the number that comes after or counting on one more. By modifying the number of dice a child may use, the level of difficulty increases or is simplified and can be adjusted for each child's ability level. In it's simplest form, a child rolls one die and then shows the number that comes after the number the dice landed on using counters. Want to work with bigger numbers? Add on the dice and have the child work with 2 or even 3 dice. Which then creates a higher level of thinking because the child has to first combine the total number of all the dice he or she is rolling and then count on one more. To then make things even more complicated (if the child wanted to) they could find the correct number on a number fan.


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