Engagement,  Math

How to Engage Your Students Using Math Games with Dominoes

Math Games with Dominoes

If you’ve been around for awhile, then you know how much I love easy, low-prep math games. Games are incredibly engaging for our students, but it can be a pain to have to gather materials for them sometimes. That’s why I’m a huge fan of games that use normal, everyday supplies – like dominoes! Today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite math games with dominoes.

These games are all incredibly simple, yet meaningful for students and only require a set of dominoes, plus maybe a sheet of paper or whiteboard to write on. You can use these games as a center or small group activity, or if you have enough dominoes, partner students up and play with the whole class!

1. Make 10 Math Domino Game

This first game is SO simple, and all you need is one set of dominoes per person/group playing. It can be played individually or with a small group taking turns. I recommend using double 9 or double 12 dominoes for this game.

To play, students will simply lay out one domino at a time, connecting ends that together total 10. For example, If the number on one end of a domino is 6, then they can lay the end of a domino that shows 4 next to it, as shown in the below picture.

math games with dominoes

If playing with a small group of students, I recommend dividing the dominoes evenly between the players. Then, they will take turns each laying down a domino. If they don’t have any that they can play, their turn is skipped. The first student who gets rid of all their dominoes – or the player with the least amount left – wins.

Of course, this can be used to make other numbers instead of just 10! Choose any target number you want, so long as it can be made using dominoes.

To see this game an action, check out this video.

2. Math Facts with Dominoes

This next game is also incredibly easy and only requires dominoes! You can use any kind of dominoes for this game – choose what makes the most sense for your grade level.

math games with dominoes

This game is best played in pairs, but small groups will work, too. This game is similar to the card game War. Students will each draw a domino from a pile and turn it over. Students will then either add or multiply (teacher’s choice) the two ends of their domino together. Whoever’s domino yields the greatest total gets to keep both dominoes.

If both players’ dominoes yield the same total, then players will draw again. The winner will then keep all 4 dominoes. Once all the dominoes have been played, the player who won the most dominoes wins.

3. Comparing Numbers Math Game with Dominoes

This next math game with dominoes requires dominoes (any kind) and a piece of paper or whiteboard and writing utensil. Students should play in pairs, although you can also turn this into an independent activity!

Students each draw a domino and lay them down. Then they will compare their numbers. You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Each domino represents a two-digit number, where each end of the domino represents one digit. In this version of the game, students should lay the domino down to show the largest possible number (ex: 54 vs. 45).
  2. Students can add or multiply (teacher’s choice) the two ends together, similar to the game shared above.

Once the number of each domino is determined, students will compare their two numbers and insert the correct symbol (>, <, or =) in between them. They can record their answers on a piece of paper or whiteboard.

4. Ordering Dominoes Game

Students can practice math facts along with ordering numbers in this game. It can be played individually, or with a partner!

Students will simply draw 5 dominoes and add or multiply the ends together. Then, students will place the dominoes in order of least to greatest totals. To make it a game, pair students up and challenge them to see who can put theirs in order the fastest.

You can also play this game where each number represents a two digit number instead. For older grades, play a variation of this game to order decimals or fractions. Instead of adding or multiplying the ends together, one side shows a whole number (or numerator) and one side shows the decimal number (or denominator). Then, students place the decimals/fractions in order.

5. Even/Odd Sort

Practice even and odd numbers by sorting dominoes. Students will draw dominoes one at a time and determine if the number of dots on the domino is even or odd. (For a twist, you can have them subtract or multiply the numbers instead and use the difference or product).

Students will then sort into two piles – even and odd. To make it a game, pair students up, and have one partner keep all the evens and one keep all the odds. Whoever has the most dominoes wins.

More Easy Math Games

Like easy activities like these math games with dominoes? There are many games you can also play with just dice or playing cards!

Click here to check out easy math games with dice.
Click here to check out easy math games with playing cards.

What’s your favorite way to use dominoes in the classroom?

math games with dominoes

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