Games with dice


Time to let students become naturally curious about probability.  In this activity students work in teams to record the frequency of rolled dice combinations. They observe the difference between experimental and theoretical outcomes and consider how sample size affects how the closeness of the match up of experimental and theoretical probabilities.  Although not specifically mentioned in the activity handout, consider having the entire class combine their rolling dice data.  They should see that their experimental data matches closely with actual probabilities.

While comparing the probability of different sums, your students will calculate probability using percents and fractions, draw frequency distributions, decide if payoffs in the game of CRAPS are fair, and consider how casinos make profits.  The lesson can then be extended by introducing and playing the game of SKUNK.  The game is fun and winning is all about understanding probability.  We have the general directions for SKUNK at the bottom of this post.

You might use this dice simulator with the class to help students better understand that as sample size increases, experimental probability should get closer and closer to theoretical probability.


CCSS: 7.SP.5, 7.SP.6, 7.SP.7, 7.SP.8, S-MD.1, S-MD.5, S-MD.6

Here are game boards for playing Skunk:   SKUNK_GAME_BOARDS.pdf

For members we have an editable Word doc and solutions.

games_with_dice.doc         games-with-dice-solutions.pdf

SKUNK game directions:

Each letter of SKUNK represents a different round of the game; play begins with the "S" column and continue through to the "K" column. The object of SKUNK is to accumulate the greatest possible point total over five rounds. The rules for play are the same for each of the five rounds.

  • At the start of each round all players stand up. The dice are then rolled. Everyone playing uses that roll of the dice.
  • A player gets the total of the dice and records it in his or her column, unless a one on either dice is rolled.
  • When a one on either dice is rolled play is over for that round and all the player's points in that column are wiped out.
  • If double ones come up, all points accumulated in prior columns are wiped out as well.
  • If a one is not rolled the player may choose either to try for more points on the next roll (by continuing to stand) or to stop and keep what he or she has accumulated (by sitting down).
  • If a one or double ones occur on the very first roll of a round, then that round is over and all players lose their points for that round/previous rounds.

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