We have a bunch of crazy dice at our house, including fractions dice, decimal dice, money dice, alien dice, dice with colored dots on them, and dice within dice. We also have a bunch of *Dungeons and Dragons* dice from a toy store in Duluth, Minnesota. Instead of six sides, those dice have four, eight, ten, twelve, and even twenty sides.

Yesterday I found my kids playing *Monopoly* with the crazy dice. If they paid $5 to the bank, they got to use one of the crazy dice. If they paid $10, they got to use two. If they used a die with a color dot, they got to move to the set of properties with that color.

Kids don’t need us to ‘train them’ to be creative. They just need permission, space for their creativity to blossom, and maybe a little active encouragement and/or nurturing of their creative spirits.

*Roll the dice and see what happens!*

We can't even sort the money from our monopoly games. My kids have had fun over the years creating pet shops with beanie babies and other scenarios in their play. They also mastered the art of infomercials created with a sony handycam. They have always been creative. Another benefit to not over-scheduling them.

Posted by: Louise Maine | August 19, 2008 at 05:32 AM

Oh how cool! I love the idea about using the dice with the colored dots. I have friends who are very competitive when it comes to Monopoly and I would like to see this idea throw a curve ball into the mix! I love hearing stories like this, especially when I was one of those children...being an only child whose parents hated bored games, but bought me just about every kind out there, I would get bored waiting for them to come join me and would invent new games. I had different ones for Monopoly, Life, Trouble...

When it came time to writing college essays, I found my inspiration back with my old imaginary games. It must of worked, because I got into all of the ones I applied to. Once at freshman orientation, the college admission officers remembered my essay and told the whole crowd about it, much to my dismay! I'm sure they looked at everyone's applications again before we arrived, but now being a teacher, I know that my imagination and creativity made an imprint.

Way to go for your kids!

Posted by: Darcie | August 19, 2008 at 12:12 PM

I have one more use for dice in schools. I often watch math teachers leave each night with a canvas bag full of papers to grade. They assign 40 questions which "allow" students practice on performing a number of mathematical concept practices.

The problem I see beyond the number of questions they are assigning is two fold. One they are spending way too much time grading papers and far too little time developing better more engaging activities to bring both rigor and relevance to their lessons. Unfortunately math teachers are not the only ones out there that thing Rigor equates more or faster. The second problem with all of this grading is that they are often very slow to return papers and thus not providing quality feedback to their students. By the time some students get a paper back from a teacher letting them know they are completing a mathematical operation incorrectly, they have already done two more assignments making the same mistakes.

I purchased a bunch of multi-sided dice and encouraged teachers, particularly math teachers to roll the dice and correct the numbers that came up to ensure they were getting feed back to the students. If they assigned 40 problems, I encouraged them to take a statistical sampling 6 problems which is the closest whole number to the square root of 40 and grade those. This allowed them to stay with assigning points to assignments, a practice I will eventually convince them is flawed, but still provide quality/timely feedback to students.

I understand that students are reluctant to do an assignment if they are not given points for it, but I think that is because we have conditioned them to think this way. I am really not sure why we are so bent of penalizing a student for making mistakes on daily work. If they already know how to do a problem set perfectly, is this really how they should be spending their time?

Any way, back to the dice. I have seen some amazing results when teachers engage in this practice. They tend to put less weight on the daily work in terms of grading and also seem to be getting papers back to the students in a much more timely manner.

I would love to ask students to come up with their own board game. I think it would be very interesting to see what they might come up with. Who knows, maybe this is exactly how Parker Brothers has done it for years.

Posted by: David Keane | August 20, 2008 at 08:52 PM

It is erie that Monopoly should come up on a day when there is a new edition out!

http://www.hasbro.com/games/kid-games/monopoly/default.cfm?page=worldvote/presscenter

Oh, and Louise, you can print your own replacement money of the Hasbro site as well! (Insert your favorite Government/Money/Running-the Printing-press joke here.)

Posted by: Roger Whaley | August 20, 2008 at 10:21 PM

DICE THINKING GAME: "Petals on a Rose"

Take 5 of the same dice, roll - now if you see a dot in the middle of any dice, THAT dice is a rose and you look to count the petals...so example you see before you

5,2,3,3,1

5 one dot in the middle count outlying dots 4

2, no dot in the middle no count

3 one dot in the middle, outlying dots 2

3 one dot in the middle, outlying dots 2

1 one dot in the middle, no "petals" to count..

You play this and just count out loud..giving the students time to find the pattern, keep repeating the TITLE of the game and sooner or later, they catch on and help the others to figure it out!

you just silently count the petals after you roll and wait, then roll again, announce the total...

Posted by: cindy lane | August 21, 2008 at 03:00 PM

Fantastic! That's how they'll learn math too.

Posted by: Gary S. Stager | August 26, 2008 at 08:38 PM