Games: Lo-Hi

Jim McClain here!

If you have access to two 12-sided dice, try this game out for your elementary age kids who are struggling with their multiplication facts. My kids–seventh graders, mind you–beg to play this game. It’s easy, it’s fair, and you can copy the score sheet to your heart’s content. I do them back-to-back once the kids know the game. They can use the multiplication table to verify each other’s answers. Back when I was allowed to do this, I gave a Jolly Rancher to the winner of each game. They will do hundreds of multiplication problems this way if you let them. Better than a random worksheet!


In a classroom setting, I recommend using disposable plastic bowls to deaden the sound of the dice, and to maintain your sanity about what counts and what doesn’t. Both dice must come to rest in the bowl for the roll to count. If one die leaves the bowl, they must both be re-rolled. This keeps the active ones under control. The bowls stack and you can reuse them for years.

By the way, this also subtly introduces the idea that the x in an ordered pair goes before the y, even though it doesn’t really matter which player goes first. It has no bearing on the score. It just prevents arguments.

This and many other games will be included in the lesson plans available from my Kickstarter next month for the Solution Squad book!