Highest Number 1

Task 127 ... Years 2 - 10


A simple and relatively well known dice and place value game with many variations. At one level the task is worthwhile practise of place value, but as soon as the question about strategy for placing a card is raised, higher order thinking is expected. Now, either informally or formally, the task becomes a probability based investigation. Strategies could be explained in words or in a What would you do if the first card was...? table like this:

This cameo includes Investigation Guides at two levels.



  • One six-sided dice
  • Two sets of cards A to 6
  • Two playing boards


  • basic place value skills
  • basic arithmetic skills, especially addition
  • probability, including calculating chances of simple events, long run expectation & probability distribution patterns
  • statistics, including data collection in stem and leaf form and potential to introduce or revise, range, mode, median & mean in the context of first hand data
Note: The strategy table opposite is from the software developed to support the Maths300 lesson based on this task.

Highest Number 1


A task is the tip of a learning iceberg. There is always more to a task than is recorded on the card.

One way teachers extend learning using tasks is to write an Investigation Guide. The usual procedure is to discuss with students what they have done from the card, then ask a question that opens the door to the deeper investigation. For this task we have included two Investigation Guides (and discussion of their answers) to model this approach. These have been extracted from the Chance & Data Replacement Unit. It was this material which grew into Maths300 Lesson 26, Highest Number.

Note: This investigation has been included in Maths At Home. In this form it has fresh context and purpose and, in some cases, additional resources. Maths At Home activity plans encourage independent investigation through guided 'homework', or, for the teacher, can be an outline of a class investigation.

Whole Class Investigation

Tasks are an invitation for two students to work like a mathematician. Tasks can also be modified to become whole class investigations which model how a mathematician works.

Tasks have three lives:

  • an invitation to two students to work like a mathematician
  • a deeper investigation led by an Investigation Guide
  • a whole class investigation to model how to work like a mathematician
For this task, to illustrate this third life, we have extracted the plan for the whole class investigation from the Chance & Data Replacement Unit. A variation of this plan, which includes photos from classrooms, is available in Maths300 Lesson 26, Highest Number.

For more ideas and discussion about this investigation, open a new browser tab (or page) and visit Maths300 Lesson 26, Highest Number, which includes an Investigation Guide and software.

Is it in Maths With Attitude?

Maths With Attitude is a set of hands-on learning kits available from Years 3-10 which structure the use of tasks and whole class investigations into a week by week planner.

The Highest Number 1 task is an integral part of:

  • MWA Number & Computation Years 3 & 4

The Highest Number 1 lesson is an integral part of:

  • MWA Number & Computation Years 3 & 4
  • MWA Chance & Measurement Years 7 & 8
This task is also included in the Task Centre Kit for Aboriginal Students and the Primary Library Kit. Solutions for tasks in the latter kit can be found here.

Green Line
Follow this link to Task Centre Home page.