# Teaching with D&D: Magical Math D&D Lesson Plan #2

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

“How to Reduce Math Phobia”

After finishing Lesson Plan #1 and pushing your story along a bit *, it is time to attack academia again! By now your class or group has started off on their adventure and maybe even had a battle. Not too far along will be a great place to begin Lesson #2 – Math. Putting age aside temporarily, one of the main goals of teaching math through D&D, for all ages, is that you get to fight one of the most fundamental scourges of the student world – math phobia.

The fear of numbers and math class is generational. As a math teacher, I’ve heard so often from parents, “I don’t know how to do this stuff myself. I was never good in math.” Being good in math is a skill, which can be learned through practice. With this in mind, playing D&D is a solution to reducing math anxiety because as a player you “use math” all the time. Being comfortable around numbers is one of the most important life skills.

Note: In the United States, we teach (or “touch on”) a large number of skills, whereas in some other countries they focus in-depth on a smaller number of skills. 3rd Grade touches on a lot of math: numbers and comparing; place values; addition; subtraction; mixed operations, properties; equations and variables; estimation and rounding; logical reasoning, patterns, money, time, data, graphing, probability, fractions, units of measure, geometry. Really, all in 3rd grade! (also again in 4th, 5th…)

**Lesson Plan #2: Math**

**Lesson Objective: ** Demonstrate understanding of single/double-digit addition and subtraction through oral and written storytelling

1) **Warm-Up:** Introduce Math in D&D: Say, “Math is everywhere in D&D. Together let’s come up with our own examples of where we might see math in the game.” Try to generate a large list with your students. If no one volunteers ask for situations that use addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication in D&D or any game. (Taking damage is subtraction. Gaining health is addition. Skills checks, distance, range, area of effect, roleplay can translate into any mathematical situation…) (5 minutes max).

2) **Teach: **Model different situations using the D&D character sheet. Talk about how the character sheet in D&D has all the information and data that help players make decisions. Maybe it is choosing the right weapon or just knowing how far you can travel or even what skill to use given a certain situation. (15 minutes max, 2 examples)

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**Example ****#A****) Present the below:**

Half-Elf Paladin, LV1: Armor Class is 18; Hit Points is 12, Carrying 2 weapons,

Weapon Name Bonus To-Hit Damage Roll

Long Sword +5 1d8 + 3

Javelin +5 1d6 + 3

Enemy: (2) Zombies, Armor Class (AC) = 8, Hit Points = 22, Speed = 20 ft.

Start:

- Ask: What weapon is your most powerful? Why? (Answer: Long Sword as it provides more potential damage)

- Ask: What happens when 2 zombie enemies attack you and hit you for 11 hit points (HP) damage? (Answer: your health goes down to 7 HP)

- Say: In the next round a healer cures you for 5 HP of health. What is your current HP level? (Answer: your health goes up to 12 HP)

Then:

- Go through the two stage-combat. (Stage 1) Hit: Yes or No via an attack roll. You roll a 20-sided die (d20) and have your student-players add the bonus +5 number and get their attack score. Compare that number to the enemy’s armor class to see if you hit. (Stage 2) If you successfully hit in stage 1, then roll for damage….while doing the single/double-digit addition and subtraction!

- Go ahead and describe the rest of the battle using student dice rolls until the zombies are dispatched! Then you talk about how everything you just went through can be written down in the form of a draft paragraph. (Show your own short 3-5 sentence paragraph about the mini-battle)

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Example #B) Present the below:

Dragonborn Sorcerer, LV1: Armor Class is 16; Hit Points is 9, Carrying 2 weapons & 2 spells

Weapon Name Bonus To-Hit Damage Roll

Light Crossbow +4 1d8 + 3

Dagger +5 1d4 + 3

Spell Name

Ray of Frost +5 1d8

Thunderwave DC13 (Con. Save) 2d8

Enemy: (2) Zombies, Armor Class (AC) = 8, Hit Points = 22, Speed = 20 ft.

Start:

- Ask: What weapon is your most powerful? Why? (Answer: Light Crossbow as it provides more potential damage)

- Ask: What spell is your most powerful? Why? (Answer: Thunderwave as it provides more potential damage … but maybe the Ray of Frost has a better probability of success? (**)

- Ask: What happens when 2 zombie enemies attack you and hit you for 7 hit points (HP) damage? (Answer: your health goes down to 2 HP)

- Say: In the next round a healer cures you for 5 HP of health. What is your current HP level? (Answer: your health goes up to 7 HP)

Then:

- Go through the 2 stage-combat for weapons and spells as done in the previous example #1.

- Note, you might need to describe the process for using your spells as they act differently than weapon attacks.

- Go ahead and describe the rest of the battle until the zombies are dispatched! Then you ask your players to write a paragraph describing their battle. (Have your written sample version from example A on display)

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3) Continue your main story. After going through your examples continue on with your main storyline, stopping after each roll providing students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery. (Remainder of your allotted time.)

4) Assessment: Ask your player-students to write a short paragraph describing the math during a mini-battle

Good luck with your D&D learning adventures, and I would love to read your comments below on your own D&D teaching experiences. Have trouble getting started? Let me know as I might be able to help.

This blog follows "Dungeons and Dragons in School?!?" and “Fantastic/al D&D Lesson Plans - #1 Writing” Next Up: Lesson #3 Social Studies :-)

*Paul Lazrow is the founder and one of the Storytellers at Adventuring Portal, an online service that focuses on running live-guided fun, safe D&D games for kids. Find out more at AdventuringPortal.com.*

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