Whenever students are presented with a new concept, it’s helpful to give them lots of opportunities to practice it in different ways. The dice game is a great way to teach and review ordering and comparing numbers with your 1st grade students. For students with beginning number sense use activities with smaller numbers and as the students’ understanding of numbers becomes more advanced challenge them with higher numbers.
Comparing Numbers with Dice
Six sided dice, one for each child
A small container filled with snap cubes, pennies or other manipulatives for keeping score
This two player game is perfect for children who are just learning to compare numbers. To play, each child rolls a die and the children decide who has the higher number. The player with the higher number takes one counter from the bowl. The children continue to roll their dice and compare their rolls. If they roll the same number they roll again with no one getting a counter. Play for a set amount of time. When the time is up, each child counts his counters to see who has collected the most.
- Use a twelve or twenty-four sided dice to make the game more challenging. You can also have the students roll two dice and add the numbers together before they compare.
- For students who have trouble comparing the dots on the six-sided die, provide counters so that they can count out the number they roll when comparing.
- Use playing cards instead of dice and turn a game of Battle or War into a math game! Take out the face cards and instead of using counters, the student who puts down the higher cards can keep the cards.
Link it to Science
Show your students the importance of learning to compare and order numbers by using the skill with a science unit. Here are some easy examples of ways to practice math skills while learning about other topics.
- During your unit about pumpkins bring in several pumpkins to weigh and measure. Then write the weights and circumferences on separate index cards and place them in front of the corresponding pumpkins. Put the pumpkins in order from least to greatest by weight and then by circumference. Turn it into a math center by writing different pumpkin weights on pumpkin die cuts for the children to put in order. Children who are still learning the concept can order three pumpkins, while those who are more advanced can put four or five in order and use bigger numbers.
- During a science unit about penguins, make a chart of the average heights of different types of penguins. For a whole class activity choose two types and have the children decide which is taller. Continue to practice comparing the heights of different types of penguins. Then give the children three types to put in order from tallest to shortest or shortest to tallest. Make it a game or center by giving pairs of students a copy of the height chart and cards with the different penguin types written on them. Have each child draw a card and then compare the two penguin types that were drawn. They can also draw three or four cards and work together to put the penguins in order. You can use a variation of this activity when studying about other types of animals too.
Do you have any other teaching ideas? Let us know in the comments!