Course Level
Knowledge Unit
Fundamental Data Structures
Collection Item Type

In this lab, students dissect a working implementation of the Shut the Box dice game using process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL). Learning objectives include declaring and creating arrays and accessing their elements, using and explaining the parts of for loops, and working effectively as a team. This lab allows students to read an existing program rather than creating one from scratch.

The author of this material was awarded a 2017 NCWIT Engagement Excellence Award for this and two other of his POGIL assignments. Learn more about the award at


Teams of 3-4 students work well in this lab. Students should be assigned roles such as manager, recorder, presenter, and analyst.

Prior exposure to basic control structures and variables is recommended. (I use this as a review activity for students transitioning from CS1 in C to CS2 in Java.)

Additional recommendations include: 

  • To quickly examine this activity, see the PDF posted below. This is the instruction sheet that the students will work through.
  • To quickly install and run this activity, as well as all of the other Learn Java in N Games activities, follow the instructions here:


Engagement Highlights

The game-based nature of this lab is appealing and welcoming to many students. Additionally, this POGIL lab demonstrates an example of a well-structured collaborative learning experience and has significant benefits for engagement and inclusion.

Computer Science Details

Programming Language

Material Format and Licensing Information

Creative Commons License