Teach Through Games: Roll for it!

Teach Through Games: Roll for it!

Age level: Early Elementary, Upper Elementary 

Description: Roll for it! is a simple dice game with the potential to teach a wide range of skills in a fun, fast way. When I say it’s simple, I mean it might just be the easiest game I’ve ever taught my students to play. It just has three rules: One your turn, you roll the dice, match your dice to the cards available on the playing surface, then score any points you’ve earned. That’s it! 

I have one student who loves games, but usually hates dice games. Roll for it! changed that. I modified the instructions (see below in the “playing with speed” section.) She was losing 17 to 27, then suddenly with one roll she had tied the game. It was incredible to see her strategize to go for the 15-point card and focus her attention on rolling six threes. As she played, she narrated what was happening, “It’s down to the wire. She’s rolling quickly, but can’t seem to get that final three. Wait! She got it!” It might just be my favorite game moment of 2014.

And Roll for it! is part of my Big Back-to-School Giveaway! Today’s the final day to enter, so don’t miss your chance to win this and ELEVEN other games!

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Skills & Modifications: I appreciate that this game is easy to modify. For some learners, I’ve modified the game by reducing the number of points you must have to win. The game instructions state that the first player to reach 40 points wins, but for some students I’ve pushed it to 25 or 30 to reduce the length of play. 

Scanning – When the player rolls the dice, they must scan all the dice, all the cards in the playing field, and and any dice they’ve already played. You can reduce the number of cards in the playing field so there’s less information for your learner to scan.

Probability – Roll for it! is a fantastic game for introducing probability. It helps kids begin to understand basic concepts about making decisions based on probability and allows for practicing using probability to make the best decision possible. 

Decision-making/Managing info – On each roll, the player must make decisions about which cards they will attempt to get and whether or not they have enough dice to try to win a specific card. It requires that the learner manage multiple pieces of information simultaneously. Look at the picture below for an example of the decision-making one learner was faced with.

photo 2 (53)

Here, my student has to decide if it’s a better decision to go for threes or for sixes. There’s a higher probability that she’d roll another six on her next turn, but she earns more points if she goes for threes.

Playing with Speed – I modified the game in order to practice playing with speed. In this version of the game, all players are rolling continously, trying to be the first to win the cards that are on the playing surface. 

Pros: I love the simplicity of this game! It’s just three simple instructions that most of my students can follow, but it provides a lot of complexity in decision-making and probability. Another pro is that you can play with 2-4 players, or buy a second deck with a different color theme to play with up to 8 players. This makes it a great option for a rainy-day recess game!

rollforitCons: I don’t have any cons for this game. You can’t beat the potential for teaching a variety of skills in a simple and fun format.

Cost: $15.00 You should invest in this game if: you are an elementary school teacher, you are looking for fun games that kids of different ages/skill levels can play together, or you are seeking unique ways to practice probability skills. 

ABLLS: A10, B21, R8, K15


**Roll for it! was provided to me for free by the company Calliope Games to write about here at the blog. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.

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