Multiplication Facts Game

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Going Up - Going Down

multiplication facts game


Two decahedron (10-sided) dice for every 4 students, a piece of paper and writing utensil for each team (2 students). You can use 6-sided dice, but it limits the number facts practiced.

Another idea is to use blank 6-sided dice and put the numbers on them you want to use. You can also cut up address labels, write on them, and put them over the faces of regular dice.

Another method is to use a random number generator on a calculator, but I prefer that the students have the tactile experience of rolling the dice. Mouse pads or drawer liner make good rolling surfaces and cut down the noise levels. It is possible to buy foam dice, but I’ve never seen the decahedron dice in foam. Please email me if you find a source.


  • Two students make a team; two teams play the game. The “going up” team will start at 0 and add to reach a target number. (In the fourth grade we used 100). The “coming down” team will start at the target number and subtract to reach 0. Teams should switch roles between games.

  • One partner rolls the dice. The other partner must independently multiply the faces. Together the partners determine the sum (or difference) of the product with their running score. All calculations are done mentally with verbal explanations of how the students know their answers are right. The number sentences are recorded on the team paper, but the paper is not used for calculation.

  • The opposing team is responsible for catching any mistakes. If a team misses the multiplication fact or adds/subtracts incorrectly and the other team catches them, the playing team loses that opportunity to “go up” or “come down”.

  • Play ends when either team goes beyond their goal, however, both teams must have rolled the same number of times. (If the team that went first goes beyond their goal first, the other team gets one more roll.)

  • The winning team is the one that is the closest to their target, above or below.

The mathematical goals are to practice multiplication facts, to practice mental addition/subtraction and justification of answers, and to think about the magnitude of numbers and their relationship to the team target. These are a part of developing good number sense. Class discussion can also introduce the element of probability.

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