Dominoes: More Than a Game Go to Articles

Have you ever played with dominoes? As well as being fun, domino games involve calculation and thinking strategies, which makes dominoes an ideal resource for teaching various aspects of mathematics. They can be used to develop number concepts, computation strategies, patterns and algebra, and chance and data. This sample activity shows how double-nine dot dominoes can be used to investigate addition involving three addends.

Sum Snakes

Activity

• Have students work in groups. Each student in the group selects nine dominoes.
• Place one domino in the middle of a table. The students take turns to place their dominoes at either end of the “snake” as shown below (three ends in a section). The sum of the dots in each three-end section must always equal 12.

• A player who is unable to place a domino to make 12 misses a turn. The winner is the first player to use all of their tiles or have the fewest number of tiles left over in the event that no-one can play.

Variation

Play the game with different target numbers from 8 to 14.

Bibliography

Irons, C. (2007). A little book of big ideas: Double-nine dot dominoes. Brisbane, Australia: ORIGO Education.

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