Pam Sorooshian on Dice


[This was in response to "I think dice are good number pratice for kids" on the UnschoolingDiscussion list in October 2003.]



My friends and kids laugh when I empty my pockets because I'm always carrying dice around with me.

Games with two or more dice are a wonderful way for kids to be able to develop ease with simple addition - no need for memorizing.

There are all kinds of very cool dice around I love them and collect them and sometimes make up games to play with them.

Another fun thing to do is change the rules a little so you can play with some of the more unusual dice. For example - get a couple of 12 or 20 sided dice and play parcheesi the game will play differently much faster and strategies have to be adjusted. Or, instead of adding the dice, subtract the smaller from the larger. Or throw one and then another and subtract the second throw from the first if the second is a bigger number then you still find the difference, but move backwards. (If you throw a 5 and then a 3, you have 5-3= 2 so you move forward 2 spaces, but if you throw first a 3 and then a 5, you have 3-5= -2 so you move backwards 2 spaces.)

No reason you can't play the same games but multiply the numbers, instead of adding them, either. Talk about a faster-moving game!!!

There are blank dice that you can write on with a permanent marker so you can put whatever numbers you want on there. Try putting 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, and 1 on one die and 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 on another one and multiply the two dice. (You might have to make up some different rules for this one depending on what game you're playing - so that it is possible to move up to 72 spaces in one turn ).

You can get blank dice at teacher supply stores or put "order blank dice" into google and find places to buy online.

Go to a local game store one where they play Magic, the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons and stuff like that and look at all the cool kinds of dice!!

By the way - one of the simplest dice games is this one - you really only need one die for this. First person rolls. They can choose to "stay" or roll again. If they roll again, they add what they got the first time to the new roll. Again, they can choose to stay or roll again. If they choose to roll again, they add the third number to their total.

Now it is player two's turn. Player two must roll as many times as player one did.

Both players are trying to get as close to 12 as possible without reaching 12 or more. If player one goes over, player two automatically wins a point for that turn. If player one doesn't go over, and player two doesn't go over in the same number of rolls, then whoever is closer to 12 wins the point. If player one doesn't go over, but player two does, then player one wins the point. Continue to play, alternating going first.

You can either just say the game is over when one of the players reaches five points and wins, or you can make it more exciting and have it that once either player has gotten to five points, you win by being ahead of the other player by at least 2 points.



From this page:Sequences, also by Pam:
Sequences

All ages. Any number of players. Six dice. Paper and pencil for scorekeeping.
Alternate turns. On your turn, roll all six dice at once, one roll.

Score your turn as follows:

Each possible sequence of dice has a different point value. If you can make more than one sequence (each die can be used only once, though), then you add up the point values for all sequences.

Any sequence of 2 or more dice counts, but only use each die one time.

Score by adding the value of the dice in the sequence PLUS the number of dice in the sequence.

For example, if you roll 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4 you can create sequences of 1-2 and 1-2-3-4.

The 1-2 sequence scores 1+2 which is 3 PLUS 2 (because it is a 2-dice sequence) for a total of 5.

The 1-2-3-4 sequence scores 1+2+3+4 which is 10 PLUS 4 (because it is a 4-dice sequence) for a total of 14.

Together, the two sequences add up to 5 + 14 = 19 points for that turn.

Another example is:
You roll 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6. In this case you can make just two sequences a 2-3 and a 5-6. The 2-3 scores 2+3 which is 5, plus 2 for having 2 dice in the sequence, so the total for that sequence is 7. The 5-6 sequence scores 5+6 is 11, plus 2 for having two dice in the sequence, so that is 13. Total for the turn is 7 plus 13, for 20 points total.

You can make up rules to add a little more pizazz to this game. Maybe add a point for each even number rolled. Or add points for getting 2, 3, 4 5, or 6 of of a kind.

Play around with the rules and see if your changes make the game more fun.


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