A dice game uses a dice, or a coin, to randomly select options which in turn usually represent lexical items or grammatical structures which are to be used in the game. This format introduces a random element to an activity, and so dice/coin games are useful when activating any target language which the students are unlikely to produce voluntarily. In addition, they add a sense of fun into activities thus motivating students, especially younger learners.
To carry out controlled practise (or drilling) of verb conjugations, the following dice game table can be used:
- The teacher presents the above table to the class.
- The teacher asks for team names and writes them up on the board.
- The teacher provides a dice (as large as possible!) and announces a verb e.g. "go".
- Each team rolls the dice and completes the conjugation according to the pronoun which the number of the dice corresponds to e.g. on rolling a three, the team would have to produce "we go", on rolling a four "it goes" etc. Optionally, the teacher can increase the challenge by asking students to complete true sentences such as "I never go horseriding".
- The teacher changes the verb, allocates points and encourages group participation whenever necessary.
Variation 1: questions
The game is played in pairs or groups and on rolling the dice, a student has to ask a member of their group a question using the corresponding language. For example, the past continuous can be practised well with the following (double) table:
|4||3:00||4||the day before yesterday|
|5||5:00||5||the Monday before last|
Example: a student rolls a 4 and then a 6, thus asking their partner "What were you doing at 3am/pm on Friday?"
Variation 2: speed writing
- Groups of three or more are formed and each group is given a dice.
- A grid (as above) is presented to the class.
- One member of each group rolls their dice and starts to time one minute on a stopwatch or clock.
- The other members of the group have to write a sentence about that student using the vocabulary/grammar which their number corresponds to and do so within the minute.
- Once the minute is up, the student with the stopclock listens to all the sentences about him/her and allocates points for the truest and/or funniest sentence(s).
Note: This variation works very well with verbs: "Roman can`t stand cleaning windows"; tenses such as the future perfect: "This time next week Mark will be sleeping off his hangover"; and complex grammatical structures such as cleft sentences: "The reason why Zuzana is so tired is because she`s been out on the lash again". However, it won`t work well with certain language points such as pronouns so compatability should be checked first.