Editor's note: This blog post was originally published October 14, 2014.
Dominoes! My last blog about dominoes was focused on building number sense and seeing numbers in many forms. The games were appropriate for number recognition and for beginning understanding of place value. Below are games and activities that will focus on using dominoes to increase understanding of basic operations, as well as fractions and decimals.
Domino War: Addition or Multiplication
Pass out all the dominoes to each player. Just like War, each player turns over one domino. Find the sum or product of the two numbers. Whoever has the highest (or lowest) sum/product wins that hand. The winner takes all the dominoes in that round and then plays another round. Whoever has the most dominoes at the end wins the game! To increase practice of facts, have your children write the facts in a math journal. This will help with memorization and automaticity of facts.
Fact Families: Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division
Pick a "target number" for all players to reach. You can either pull a card from a deck or make the number up yourself. Spread the dominoes out and turn them face up. One at a time, each player chooses a domino that represents the target number. Players can record all the fact families for the domino and the target number. For example (for addition/subtraction) if the target number is 9, children might choose a domino with a 4 and a 5. They would then write all the fact families: 4 + 5 = 9; 5 + 4 = 9; 9 – 5 = 4; 9 – 4 = 5. The play will continue until all the dominoes that can be chosen are picked. To make it more challenging, you can turn the dominoes over face down for a game of memory.
Number Lines: Fractions and Decimals
Draw a number line from 0 to 1, with 1/2 marked off. Spread the dominoes out and turn them over face down. Choose one domino at a time. Holding it vertically, read the domino as a proper fraction (numerator is less than the denominator) and place it on the number line, in the appropriate location. Have children verbally explain why they are placing the fraction in that specific location. Always encourage the use of strong math words!
You can play the same game with decimals. Hold the domino horizontally and read it as a number in the hundredths place – so 3 and 6 would be 0.36 or 0.63 – either way is fine.
To make it more of a challenge, place fraction dominoes and fractions decimals on the same number line!