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Get to Zero

This game provides students practice subtracting from 999. Students should be encouraged to check each players work and provide feedback for mistakes. Remember, mistakes are awesome and they make our brain grow!

Task Instructions

  1. First, on a sheet of paper, each player needs to write the players’ names and the number 999 under them.
  2. A player rolls the three dice, then arranges the three numbers (for example, 2, 3, 5) in some order (for example, 235, 352, 532, and so on) and subtracts that 3-digit number from 999. The other players also should check the players work.
  3. The players take turns, rolling the die to make their special number and subtracting that number from their total.
  4. The winner is the first player to reach 0, but they must get to 0 exactly.
    • At any time, a player may choose to roll only one or two dice, instead of three dice. If the only numbers a player can make are larger that his remaining score, the player loses his turn.


  • Three dice
  • Paper and pencil


From Helping with Math at Home: More Ideas for Parents. 2006. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.