#MsSunFun: The Dot Game

After a beautiful and relaxing fall weekend in Wisconsin, I feel refreshed and ready for the many weeks ahead.  I love going up to Wisconsin where I can slow down and take time for myself…it took me a while to realize that it was okay to do this every now and again. It’s also easy to “unplug” up there…cell phone service is spotty around the lake, I don’t have cable/satellite tv, and while I do have wireless internet, I find I rarely take the computer out of the bag. Heck I didn’t even break out the shiny new ipad this weekend either! 🙂 So, now I am back and ready for October and I made it home with just enough time to submit my #MsSunFun post!

I was so excited for the Favorite Ways to Practice topic because I do so many different things. Then as I was driving home and thinking about what I was going to post, this fear crept up…I wasn’t sure there was anything in my files that I had created or that wasn’t already shared by many of you. EEEEKKK!!! My original ideas, where have they gone? 🙂  But amazingly enough, I found something, here you go!

The Dot Game
I use this as part of a class period (I have 41 minutes), usually after direct instruction or deriving a rule, etc. I enjoy playing this game with the kids because they all know it, so I don’t HAVE to explain the rules in detail and they do like it, even with the math component. It also gives me the chance to go around the room and check in with pairs of students to clear up misconceptions or listen to them problem solve.  Since my students sit in groups of four and there are two high students and two low students in each group, I make sure the pairs are a high and a low working together.

The Rules

  • Students take turns connecting any two dots together which are next to each other, either horizontally or vertically. (I usually will say the student with the birthday closest to the date we are playing goes first.)
  • Students play on one dot game board together, but must have separate sheets to show their work.
  • If you join two dots together to form the last side of a four-sided box, you need to correctly answer the math problem in the box in order to shade it in with your color.  If you get the problem incorrect, your partner gets to color it if they have the correct answer. (Or the partner may steal the box by making corrections to the problem, I usually will say if partner has it correct on their paper, they get the box because it does get each partner working on problems at the same time and no one is waiting for the other to be done.)
  • If you create a box and correctly solve a problem, you get to take another turn to draw one line.
  • How do they check their answers? They don’t really HAVE to.  I tell them since they are both solving at the same time, they can use each other to check off of.  If they do not agree, they need to agree before moving on to the next question. If they can’t agree, they can ask me.  I tell them IF I collect it, all problems must be done by each student AND partners must have the same answers for each.
  • The winner is the student that captures the most squares.

The students find it a fun way to practice, I like that it is with partners and is self-checking and it gives me the opportunity to walk around and see if there are any common errors that I may need to address the next day.

Here is a version for Zero & Negative Exponents.  Usually, I only provide one side which has 15 problems due to my short 41 minute periods, but last year I had a smarty pants Algebra class that always blew through practice like nothing, so I created one that was double sided for extra practice.


13 thoughts on “#MsSunFun: The Dot Game

  1. I love this! I’ve been having to reinvent the wheel ever since school started (because there just aren’t many resources out there for teaching ratios the CCSS way), but I’m looking forward to getting to topics where I can use fun ideas like this one to easily adapt what I already have to make it a little bit more fun for my students. It’s amazing how much happier students are *when doing the same problems they would have done anyway* when you do something small like this to make it a game. Thanks for sharing!

    • Yeah! Glad you love it! I completely agree with feeling as though I am reinventing the wheel with the CCSS to try and find CCSS types of activities. You are correct that they don’t have an issue doing math problems when they feel it’s a game or work in partners. This fits right in there. Let me know if you try it with your students.

    • I have the students sitting in groups of 4 based upon Kagan Strategies, which typically has a High student, Low student, High Middle student and High Low student. I put them in groups based upon a diagnostic given at the start of the year, but now that I know them more, I need to regroup a little better to remove chatty kids, behavior issues and better organize the groups. No, the high student doesn’t always win, but I suppose it could be possible…I didn’t think about it that way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Pingback: Favorite Ways to Practice – MS Sunday Funday | I Speak Math

  3. I low it, but how difficult is it to make the sheet? (I still, at times struggle with ms word deciding to do its own thing with spacing and numbering…)

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