Polyhedrons are three-dimensional shapes made up of familiar two-dimensional shapes like triangles, rectangles, and pentagons. Five of these shapes, known as the Platonic Solids, have had an interesting past, but today they might be most recognizable as multi-sided dice for tabletop games. A sixth shape, the 10-sided die, also shows up in these games but it is a bit of a special case.
All of these dice can provide a fun way to talk about geometry. Building these polyhedrons yourself also gives hands-on insight into the two-dimensional shapes used to make them, as well as into the other basic attributes of the 3D shapes, such as the number of faces, edges and vertices. These attributes play a role in our cube-building game: Cube-Or-ACK!
Just rolling these dice is great for starting discussions about percentages and probabilities. You can also use them to generate numbers for quick competitions using the basic mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. This is how we use them in our dice-rolling game: Pirates vs. Skeletons.
In the following PDF’s we provide templates for cutting out and assembling each of the six common multi-sided game dice:
- 4-sided dice / Tetrahedron
- 6-sided dice / Hexahedon
- 8-sided dice / Octahedron
- 10-sided dice / Decahedron (is it?)
- 12-sided dice / Dodecahedron
- 20-sided dice / Icosahedron
These activities are free to download on our Printables page.
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