Make a Number Game

What You Need:

  • Number cube
  • Paper
  • Pencil

What You Do:

  1. Each player draws four short horizontal lines on a piece of paper. Each of the horizontal lines represents a place value. The first line represents thousands, the second line represents hundreds, the third line represents tens, and the fourth line represents ones.
  2. Now it’s time to choose a goal - do you want to show the greatest 4-digit number or the smallest 4-digit number? Once you’ve agreed on greatest or smallest, it’s time to start rolling the number cube.
  3. Each player rolls once and then writes the number shown on the cube on one of the lines on his paper. Here’s where strategy begins. Each player chooses where he wants to place each digit. For example, if a student rolls a “1” and the goal is to create the largest number, he may choose to place the 1 on the horizontal line holding the ones place.
  4. This game continues until both players have filled in all four columns.  The one who achieves the game goal wins that round!

What's going on?  This game reinforces the connection between abstract digits and the way their values will differ depending on their place in a large number.  Second graders often struggle with this idea, especially as numbers get bigger, and the more you can practice, the better.  Plan to play lots of rounds--when it comes to math fundamentals, practice really does make perfect.

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