The Secret to Dice

The Secret to Dice

November 19, 2018

Dice are a fun toy we can use in a lot of different games. That’s because when you throw dice, you don’t know what will happen. A die is just a cube, a shape that has 6 flat square sides, or “faces.” Each face has some number of dots on it: one side has 1 dot, another has 2 dots, and so on up to 6 dots. The die can land with any of those faces pointing up. That tells you how many spaces to move in a board game, or whether you rolled a bigger number than your friend. And here’s a cool fact: on most dice, the two sides opposite each other always add up to 7. Find a die or two and check it out!

Wee ones: Find a box in your room that has 6 faces (flat sides). See if you can count them all.

Little kids: One side of a die has 2 rows of 3 dots in each. They’re sometimes called “railroad tracks.” How many dots are there in total?  Bonus: Opposite sides on a die add up to 7. If you’re looking at the side with 5 dots on it, how many dots are on the opposite side?

Big kids: If you roll 4 dice, what’s the biggest number of dots you can roll in total?  Bonus: If you roll a 3, 4, 5 and 6, which die would have to change to a 2 for your total to be 14?












Wee ones: Count the 6 faces…remember to count the back side and the bottom!

Little kids: 6 dots.  Bonus: 2 dots.

Big kids: 24.  Bonus: You rolled 18, so to get 14 you need to lower the total by 4. So you change the 6 to a 2.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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