This is an activity that engages students in working with order of operations problems. When I tried it out with my students, they were pretty excited about it, and I was surprised to find that every student was working on the problems.
The basics of this activity are that students are trying to use three numbers to create the numbers 1 through 10. The students roll three dice and then use those numbers to write math expressions, that are properly written to simplify to the given number. The students need to use each of the three numbers once, and only once.
To make this activity into a game, the students will pretend to be bowling. While bowling, you try and knock down all ten pins on the first roll. Which is what students will attempt to do. If all ten pins are not knocked down on the first try, the students may roll again and try to get the rest of the numbers on the second roll.
I have heard of this activity being done in a couple of different ways. When I did it with my 7th and 8th grade students, I projected three electronic dice on the Promethean Board and rolled them for the students. All of the student worked together at first to discover different methods of creating the numbers. Another method involves giving students their own dice and having them come up with the solutions on their own. Foam dice work best when individuals are working on this activity.
One of the best things about this activity is that it can work for many different grade levels. When introducing it for lower grade levels, give the students a limited amount of operations that they can use; like just adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. For students that are gaining more experience with problems containing multiple operations you can begin slowly introducing more math operations, like exponents, parenthesis, factorials, and more.
It is a good idea to collect the record sheets, cover the names of the students, and then review the expressions that the students wrote for accuracy. This way students are then able to assess the reasonableness of each other’s answers.