Open the Box

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For almost two years, when my name comes up, most people think of dice since I created and use App Dice on a regular basis. Long before I was App Smashing or using QR Codes with dice, I played Shut the Box on a regular basis. Shut the Box is a classic game where players roll dice and when their number comes up, they turn over the number. The game is complete when a player turns all of his numbers over and “shuts” the box. Shut the Box has been used by teachers for years for math games. Usually students are told to either: add, subtract, divide, multiply, extract, ect., numbers to complete their objectives. Shut the Box has even been used for Centers and other subjects for years.

  Two years ago, just before I started Genius Hour at my old job at CLS. I had a set of fourth graders take Shut the Box and completely turn it on its ear. They decided to make a version of the game and then hand it down to the grade level below them. Saying that they wanted to create a game to help students who had problems with lessons when they were in 3rd grade. They took the dice out and marked them with subjects and the students had to name an important fact from the subject in order to turn over their numbers (now known as lesson marks). Well, I encouraged the 3rd graders to do the same for 2nd grade and so forth and so forth. We called it: “Open the Box” since students or teachers didn’t know what type of game Shut the Box would be when they opened it.

I am happy to say that at least two grades still play this at my old school and I’m encouraging my current students to open up to it as well. Give it a try, have students create a Shut the Box learning game and then pass it on to the grade level below them. You would be amazed on the learning and creativity that will occur.


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