Thursday, September 6, 2012

Best Investment Ever

I think my most favorite "purchased" item that I had in my classroom was my large dice. 

I am fortunate that my school purchased them for me, but unfortunate as I could not take them with me when I left.

Click to View Video and Other ImagesThese are the ones I used: Large Dice

 They are from Discount School Supply and currently retail for $37.  Yeah, that is a lot, but I did not have to pay for them!  :)

I bet you can find cheaper ones.  Or go in on a set with another teacher.

Prior to owning these dice, I had made my own out of square boxes I acquired somewhere.  My home made dice lasted about 3 years, and I was not able to change what each face said.  So one had numerals and the other had dots. 

This is a picture of my "old" dice:

So how did I use the dice?  Oh my gosh is SO many ways!  If you have read some of my early posts, you may remember I am big on being active in the classroom.  Maybe cause my students were all so young, but I feel like even the older students can benefit by them as well.  This set let me put movements into the activity that we may not have normally thought of.

Young students: roll 1 die; start with dots then move up to numerals.  Have 1 student count the dots then choose a movement for the class to do "that many" times.  To get more students involved at once, have one student roll, one count, and another pick the activity.  I used this activity without the dice as we learned about each number; this is a great way to review all numbers you have covered so far, or you can put the same number on each side, so it always comes up "3."  See how long it takes the kids to catch on!  I usually prompt the first few movements, like "clap three times" or "jump three times" (make sure you wear comfy shoes that day) then let the kids take over.  Really gets those wiggles out of the little ones.

Preschool students: you can use the dice as part of a themed activity where they make a physical connection to objects based on the roll of the dice.  Here, the student could roll a die, either read the numeral or count the dots, then "feed" the squirrel that many acorns.  Can be adapted to ANYTHING - put that many apples/leaves/snowflakes on (or take off) a tree; make a tower with that many blocks; count out that many goldfish for snack, you get the idea. 

Pre-Kindergarten students: once your students recognize their numerals add the second die and they can match sets.  Roll the two dice; did you get a match?  Are there more or less dots than the number you rolled?  Could not find pictures of that in action. But...

Kindergarten and first grade: here the students used the big dice in a couple ways, then followed up with a small group and individual activity with small dice.

The rolled the dice and the students tallied on the white board how many times each number came up.  This was partial tally writing and partial probability lesson.  I find this is a great activity to cover both concepts in a fun way.

The students working on their individual tallies.  I asked them to roll their die a specific number of times, like 40.  So they had to keep adding their tallies up to see when they hit 40. :)

Another way we used the big dice was for addition and subtraction practice.  We used the dice as a group activity, counting the dots chorally to add.  I would (or sometimes a student) write the addition sentence on the white board so we could "see" what we just did verbally.  As time went on, the dice were changed to have numerals on them, and we used small manipulatives (coins in this picture) to add. 

For subtraction, I had one dice with numbers 5 and above, and the other dice had 0 - 4.  We had to work harder to find the difference than we did for the sum, but the kids caught on pretty well.  At first we wrote the numbers that we rolled on the board, and figured out which on was "greater." We then wrote the subtraction sentence and added attribute block magnets to represent the larger number.  We took away the smaller number and voila! We found the difference.  Older students can roll the dice to add more than two numbers, multiply, or divide. can use it for place value identification. 

Another example of using the dice is in my post titled Making Numbers 5/26/2012.

By using dice that  you can change the faces, you can customize the dice to every activity. I used them once to build a snowman; they students had to roll six different body "parts" to build the "whole" snowman.  But that is a whole other concept!

Does anyone else have big dice they use in their classroom?  Can you share some of your activities?  This is just a small sampling of what can be done.  Hope I've inspired you a bit today, to get those kids up and moving instead of sitting in chairs all day.  Math should be hands on, and fun!!


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