Six pin bowling: Numeracy activities that work

This one is definitely a hat tip to my friend Rodney and like the others it’s based on the Making Sense of Number numeracy progression for adult learners.


  • Practice the four basic computations, i.e. solving equations using combinations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


  • Blank paper and pen per student or pair of learners
  • Three standard six-sided dice.


  • To knock over as many bowling pins as possible using equations made up of the same three single digits.
  • Be the first learner/group to knock out all 6 pins.


  • Ask learners to draw 6 circles (pins) in the shape of a pyramid (one at the top, two in the middle and three on the base). The tutor or trainer should draw an example on the whiteboard to illustrate.
  • On each pin (in each circle) each learner picks a number between 1-20 (exclusive) and writes it in the circle (pin). See illustration below for an example. You can’t repeat a number once you’ve used it.

6pin bowling

  • The bowling balls used are three standard six-sided dice.
  • The tutor or trainer rolls the dice and writes up the three numbers that come up on the whiteboard. Alternatively, learners can form groups of three and one of them rolls the dice.
  • Using +, -, x and /, the students must try to knock out as many pins as they can (or alternatively choose one pin to knock out). 
  • E.g. If the numbers 1, 6 and 2 were rolled, students could use: (2×6) + 1 to knock out pin 13 above in the top position, or (6+1) x 2 to knock out pin 14 in the bottom left position.
  • Each number can only be used ONCE in any equation.
  • Numbers can be used in ANY order in any , (e.g. 4, 6, 2 could be used as 6, 2 4, etc).
  • Numbers cannot be put together (e.g. 4 and 6 to make 64 or 46).
  • It is important that the learners record their equations so that the winners can “prove” their winning equations.


Dicing with decimals: Numeracy activities that work


Again, I’m not entirely sure where I picked this one up… might be a hat tip to Rodney Y… Anyway, it’s really simple to set up and needs no resources apart from normal dice.


  • Practice adding decimals.
  • Practice using decimal place value.


  • Standard six-sided dice.
  • One playing board per player. See the image below.

Ones Tenths Dicing with DecimalsObject

  • To get as close to 9.9 as possible. 


  • ŸPlayers take it in turns rolling the dice and recording their result in either the “ones” place or “tenths” place.
  • Each player must have 7 rolls of the die.
  • After 7 rolls the players tally their scores and the closest to 9.9 is the winner.

Rocket – Where will it fit? Numeracy activities that work

Here’s another one that’s been around for a while. Also, an old favourite.


  • Two regular dice.
  • Pen and paper for the players.
  • Draw or photocopy rocket grid like the one below.



  • Each person needs to draw their own rocket playing board on paper or use the template supplied.
  • The tutor then shakes the two dice and rolls them out. Only numbers between 10 and 67 are possible.
  • The digits on the top two faces are called out to the class.
  • From the digits thrown the players must make a decision…
    • Which two-digit number do they write in one cell in their rocket?
    • e.g. if 4 and 1 appear and are called out they could write one of  14 or 41?Ÿ   
  • Players record their number choice in one of the cells of the rocket in the space where they think it best fits between 10 and 67. They have to choose carefully because all their two-digit numbers must appear in order, and once their choices are written in, they cannot change their minds.
  • The caller does this quickly, so that players must make their selections on the spot, and cannot “hold on” to possible numbers. The first person to have five numbers in order wins.
  • As evidence, the winner calls out their numbers in ascending order, naming these correctly.


  • Throw three dice to create numbers between 667 and 111.
  • Use the random number function on a calculator to provide the first two digits. For example, if the random number is 0.309 you would call out 3 and 0. The limits on this could be 99 and 01. If 00 comes up, miss a turn.
  • You could use all three random digits depending on the students
  • Other dice also provide possible recording options.
  • Play in groups or pairs if you have extra dice.

Dice of fortune: Numeracy activities that work

Dice of Fortune is another never fail favourite… Enjoy!


  • Dice of Fortune grid for each player like the one in the picture below
  • 10 sided die or cards with 0-9 on them

dice of fortune1


  • The aim is to create the biggest number.  


  • Roll the die and learners put the number in the top right-hand column; this is the ones column.
  • Move to the next row which represents a two digit number. Roll the die. Learners choose whether to put the number in the ones or the tens column.  Roll again – the number goes into the remaining space.
  • Repeat for each row. When all the spaces are full, add up the number in the columns to see who has the biggest number.


  • It is possible to play the game with decimal numbers by rotating the grid.
  • In this scenario the object is to see who can get the smallest number.

dice of fortune2

Assessment 4 of the NCALNE (Voc) – Knowing the learner and diagnostic assessment: Talking through the assessment task with Graeme

Here’s some info on Assessment Task 4. Again, there’s nothing here that’s not in the study materials or on Pathways Awarua. Hope it’s useful.

Assessment 3 of the NCALNE (Voc) – Mapping training demands: Talking through the assessment task with Graeme

Here’s all you need to know with regards to Assessment three of the NCALNE (Voc). Of course, don’t forget to refer to what’s in Module 3 and Assessment 3 in Pathways Awarua and any of our other material.

Assessment 2 of the NCALNE (Voc) – Maori Literacy and Numeracy: Talking through the assessment task with Graeme

Here’s some more to get you going on Assessment 2 for your NCALNE (Voc). Make sure you check out the online course in Pathways Awarua as well.