My students absolutely love this game and there is so much great maths learning involved. It is something  so easy to recreate and play at home with the whole family. All you need is a 10-sided dice with numbers 0-9 (I am sure there’s an app if you don’t have one, or use this website and the little random number generator in the top right of the screen), paper and a pen. This game will improve their number skills, especially their understanding and appreciation for place value.

Let’s Play

On the paper make this grid.

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Three boxes, a decimal point and then three more boxes. This grid represents a 6 digit number like 624.121.

Getting warmed up

In the beginning keep things simple. In the first few rounds, the aim is for each person to try and get the largest number possible. The person rolling the dice will roll the dice 6 times and after each roll everyone has a few seconds to decide where they will write the number which has come up on the dice. Once the number is written down it cannot be moved. So as the game goes on you have less choices as to where you will write the number.

For example if the first number rolled is a 5 I might chose to write that in the tenths column and my grid would now look like this.

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 5

The kids (and the adults playing) will very quickly get into this. It really is a lot of fun! You have to think about the best place value for each number which is rolled. You may need to gamble on what might come up and take some risks. Lots of problem solving skills being developed here.

Make things more interesting

Once everyone has the hang of that you can make things more interesting by adding the following twist.

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subtract

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Now there are two grids and the dice will be thrown 12 times. The numbers can be written in any of the 12 boxes but like before, numbers cannot be moved. Again, you want to create the largest number but this time it is after you have subtracted the second number from the first number. After a few turns your children will start to really think about the place value of each number and how best to place the numbers in order to get the largest number at the end. Quite a lot of strategy will take place.

Mix it up

At this point the possibilities for where you go with this are endless. You can stick with the subtraction and try to find the smallest possible positive number or you can change it up completely.

For younger children you might like to play this game without the decimal places while they are working on their knowledge of place value. Older children will really benefit from learning decimal place value and comparing and contrasting the size of the numbers that each player comes up with.
Have fun with it and let us know of any ways you have changed or extended this game.

Photo credit: Gurney5 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)