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    Dice Game
    By Mathzilla

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    I have a simple one I play when we have an extra 5-10 minutes. I'm up front with 2 dice. Each student gets a piece of scratchpaper and writes B U S T across the top. It doesn't mean much, but we play one game under each letter.

    I roll 2 dice and call out the 2 numbers I rolled. ("5, 3") Depending on your grade, you can either have the kids add, subtract, do one positive and one negative, multiply, etc. They jot down the answer as fast as they can in the first column (let's say "15"), and I roll again. I try to push the speed as fast at they can do it. If I roll doubles, the game ends and everyone loses the points they've gotten to that point. So the tricky part is that they have to anticipate when I'm going to roll doubles, and stand up to show they're freezing their score. Once they're up, they have to stay up. But if they're sitting when I roll doubles, they go bust and their score becomes 0 for that game. Then everyone who was standing up adds up their list of numbers and the one with the highest (or lowest if you're doing negatives) wins that round. With older kids, it can lead to a discussion of probability as well -- what are the possible rolls and how many of them are doubles? After how many rolls is it reasonable to get a little nervous about upcoming doubles?

    All I do for a prize is let the winner hold my little stuffed dog toy from my desk during the next game. They're thrilled with that. I have 7th graders, but we've played a variation with 3rd graders, too. Nothing too tricky, and also not too openly competitive face to face, which I appreciate. No one is on the spot!

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