A dice game is a game that uses a die (plural dice).
Typically, the dice are used 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 practice (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.