Adding and subtraction practice is important, but, if we’re honest, a page of ‘sums’ is not the most exciting prospect for your pupil brought up on a diet of X-Box and X-Factor.

The solution – trick ’em into doing sums using ‘The Dice Game’

I get the children to draw some lines in the form of an addition sum (or take away, or multiply or whatever – the options are endless), leaving a space above each line to write in a number. A bit like this:

I then use my ‘dice’ – I use the random function* in an Excel spreadsheet as my dice to generate a number from 0 to 9. The children have to write the number above one of the lines and then my ‘dice’ generates another random number and so on, until all the lines are filled. They then do the sum, the aim being to get the highest total (although, of course, you can vary this to change the nature of the game)

The pupil(s) with the highest score wins 5 points. Draw a new set of lines and play again. The children will happily do all the adding, taking away, multiplying, negative number or whatever practice you want – much more exciting than just doing Page 23, Exercise 2c, questions 1 to 20

[You can, of course, just use ordinary dice to play this game, but excel is great for generating random numbers. Here are a couple of formulas I use in an excel feild to:

- Generate a random whole number 0 to 9: =(INT(RAND()*10))
- Generate a random whole number from -9 to 9: =10-(INT(RAND()*19)+1)

]