Saturday, December 7, 2013

A set of 7 Dice to Promote Additive Reasoning in Kids of ALL Ages

I have written before about how I use dice to promote fluency with additive reasoning in students of all ages.  Today I want to tell you about a set of 7 dice that I started using a few years ago and have totally fell in love with.  The only place I have found that sells these dice is NASCO.  They are $3.50 a set and worth every penny.  I purchased 12 sets two years ago and ALREADY have gotten my money's worth out of them.  I literally have used them in every single grade K-6 and even in several workshops with adults.  If you want a set, they are available here. (If you are a dice addict like I am and you type dice into the search engine at NASCO you will be in heaven.  They really have an amazing collection.)

So how do I use these dice in so many grades?  Here are some pictures :)
They come in these little baggies which are the perfect thing to store them in.  I put all of my little baggies into a standard pencil box when they are not in use.  The little baggies make passing out and picking up the dice very simple. 
With K and first grade students I might have them get one of the dice with numbers under 10 and roll it and then build that number on a ten frame.  I also might have them get 2 of the smaller dice and roll and add or roll and subtract.  

As my first and second graders work at building addition fact strategies I like to pull the 3 smallest dice from this bag for them to roll and add.  I find it helps them with things like making 10, counting on and doubles.  

As first grade comes to a close and second grade begins, much of my focus moves towards getting students to think about 2 digit addition.  I want my second graders to fluently add any two double digit numbers without using pencil and paper by the end of the year.  I use these dice to help give my kids the extra practice they need using their invented strategies and work on their fluency with addition.  
I also might add in a smaller die to the larger ones and see what interesting combinations we can come up with.  In the roll featured in this picture, many kids would combine the 14 and 6 to make 20 and then add the two twenties.  

My favorite way to use this set of 7 dice is to have students roll and add all of them.  NO PENCIL/PAPER!  If students have had experiences with inventing strategies, are fluent at making 10 and are given time to explore these ideas, I find that I can use the entire set as early as the last third of second grade.  I often start by rolling a set of dice under the document camera and seeing who can find some friendly numbers.  After we have practice some as a class, I set kids up with a partner and their own bag of dice and let them go for it.  Notice in the picture above how the dice have been grouped to make adding easier.  

Here is another look at a roll.  Notice how friendly making tens, twenties, etc makes the adding.  I often find other teachers who are used to only using a traditional algorithm have a more difficult time with this than students do.  I know I was uncomfortable with this when I first started.  If you are going to use these dice with your students, spend some time with them yourself first.  
Another roll

How would you use these dice in your classroom?


  1. I didn't know you could get dice like this. Very cool!

    1. Te best parties they are reasonably priced and ready to use!