How many times have you gone out to dinner and you see the dreaded dot game on your child’s menu? My daughter loves playing this game, I can’t say I always had the same enthusiasm for it. A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the idea of changing it up and adding math fact practice to it! After learning this my enthusiasm changed, so did my daughter’s, but she did come around to liking it again after she learned some strategies.
So, how do you change it up? Use a pen, pencil, or crayon to write numbers in between the dots. You can decide how difficult you want to make the game by making the numbers easier or harder. You can even put fractions and/or decimals in the places for your kids who need an added challenge.
Then play just like you would the traditional game by taking turns to connect two dots together. Once someone closes the square that person collects the amount of points inside the square. Just like you chose the difficulty level of the numbers, you can decide the operation you use to total your points.
A fun twist is to play using subtraction. Give each player a set amount of points at the beginning of the game. Once you close a square you have to subtract the amount from your total. You can determine the winner either as the first person to get to 0, or the person who has the most points left at the end of the game. Either way your students will be challenged to determine what strategies work best!
For an added bonus, try playing using multiplication. This will get challenging so be careful with the numbers you choose! Better yet, put the number 0 on your board…after playing talk with your students about what strategies they used to avoid closing that box.
Attached you can access several dot game boards created by the amazing Jana Hazekamp! Have fun with these in your classroom, and then let your students begin creating their own boards and their own rules for how to play. Don’t forget to emphasize the math discourse afterwards on the importance of strategies!
Now instead of dreading the dot game on that children’s menu, you can look forward to challenging your own child in a great game while you wait 🙂