Sunday, December 6, 2015

Differentiating Math Centers with Dice

Differentiation - a word that drives fear into the teacher heart and requires a dramatic eye-roll during a staff meeting. So many times when we hear DI, it seems like this burdensome task that is completely overwhelming. But friends, DI should NOT require hours of extra hours or thousands of extra copies. I've shared about about differentiation on my blog here, and today I wanted to share one of my favorite ways to simply level math centers - with dice!

Last fall, I ordered a 'Pound of Dice' from Amazon (affiliate link) and was amazed to receive over 80 colorful dice. Each color-set included 4/6/8/10/12/20 dice, as well as, a place value dice (included multiples of tens). These dice allow me to have the same center in a tub with three different sets of dice - one for each of my math groups. (Learn more about how I group my students for Guided Math here.) I snagged a bead container from Michaels with a 40% coupon and my 15% Teacher Discount for less than $5 - a perfect storage solution!
When pulling math centers, I tend to use the green, yellow, and blue dice most. These match my color-coded math groups and makes it easy for students to grab the right dice. My 1st graders know their math color and grab their dice from the math center bin.

In October, my friends were doing Place Value Roll with dice, base ten pieces, and a recoding log. Easy peasy prep. My lowest group was working with the green place value dice (10, 20, 30, etc.) and 0-9 dice. My middle group worked with two 0-9 yellow dice and had to decide where to place the dice to make the largest number, and my above grade-level group worked with 3 blue dice to make a 3-digit number.
In our Fact Family Center we loved using our set-of-five Fact Family Triangles (Amazon affiliate link) to relate addition and subtraction. I placed the triangles, a recording log, and 3 sets of dice in the bin (each set in a ziploc bag with a colored sticker). My green group is working with two 6-sided dice (sums within 12), yellow group is playing with a 12-sided dice and a 6-sided dice (sums within 18), and blue group is playing with two 12-sided dice (sums within 24). The learning target - "Students will be able to relate addition and subtraction." is being reviewed and practice with just-right materials.
If you don't teach 1t grade, here are some other ideas for Easy Dice Games (and easily differentiated based on the number of sides each die has):
  • Comparing Numbers: Roll 2/3/4 dice (depending on your grade). Order the dice to make the largest possible number. Use <, >, = to compare your number to your partner's number. The friend with the largest number receives 1 point. First partner to 15 points wins!
  • Place Value: Roll 4 dice. Make all the number combinations possible out of those numbers. Then, order the numbers from least to greatest. (If you teach older grades, require every number to have a tenths place.)
  • Word Problems: Leave a set of word problems on a binder ring at a center. For every number in the problem, leave a blank. Then, have students roll numbers to fit the problems. They have to ensure the numbers make sense and then, they have to solve the problem! (To learn more about differentiating word problems in this way, read this blog post.)
  • Fractions: Have students roll a 4-sided dice as a denominator. Then, have students roll the 20-sided dice for a numerator. Then, students have to make the improper faction, put it in simplest terms, and write it as a decimal!
I use these dice and they are definitely one of my teacher-must haves. I give these away to all my University Students and I frequently shout-them out on Instagram and Facebook. Today I would love to send an amazing classroom a set of these dice! Every pound-o-dice is different (colors, sides, number) but regardless, they are AMAZING. After snagging the dice myself, I ended up with 75 dice with 3 sides to 20 sides. This is a flash giveaway so Rafflecopter will choose a winner at midnight tonight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Sign-up to receive content-pack emails here and enter below! For some differentiation and teaching goodness, sign-up for awesomeness to arrive in your inbox each week here. Until then, happy teaching friends!

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