What makes math practice fun? Games of course! There are tons of widely available games that incorporate math skills. Today’s post explores the classic game of Yahtzee and several variations.
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Yahtzee: Original Version
It might come as no surprise that this was, hands-down, the game of my youth. Can you say future math teacher? I played Yahtzee with friends, family, and as solitaire, and I have the old, used scorecards to prove it. I’m not sure why I saved several boxes of scorecards, but every so often I take them out and walk down memory lane.
The classic version is played with five dice and a cup. To start the turn, a player rolls all five dice. The player then has the opportunity to pick up and reroll dice two more times (total of three rolls). The goal is to assemble dice that fit into certain categories on the scorecard (e.g. three of a kind, full house, etc.). Categories have different point values depending on the relative difficulty of rolling that combination. Where does the name Yahtzee come from? It’s what you yell when you have all five dice showing the same number, for example, five dice with the number 2. The game is great for practicing addition and multiplication. The twist of strategy draws on critical thinking skills.
Want to take it outside? There are actually outdoor versions with giant dice, like Yardzee.
This place value version of Yahtzee can be adjusted for many different levels. Free, downloadable scorecards are included for 3-digit through 6-digit games, as well as for decimals.
A player rolls two dice and adds or subtracts the two numbers to create one of the numbers on the scorecard. For example, if a child rolls a 3 and a 4, they can either use it as a 1 (4 – 3) or a 7 (4 + 3). They place a checkmark next to the appropriate number. For additional accountability, have children write their equation in the space provided, rather than a checkmark. If the spaces are already marked for both their addiction and subtraction options, they lose their turn. If playing with a partner, the game is over when one player fills their card.
How about a little subitizing practice? For this game, children roll only one die, and the die must have dots, not numbers. They simply place a checkmark in the box corresponding to the number rolled. To make the game last a little longer, each number can be rolled four times. Remember, they are subitizing, so you want them to work toward not counting the dots. Download the scorecard here.
If you know of other Yahtzee-type games, please add them in the comments! Share links, if possible.