Domino Squares


This is a whole class game that I thought of in the shower this morning! It provides good practice with multiplication and addition. As well, the result of multiplying by zero is reinforced. Further, logical placement and deciding when to discard, ensures that skillful players will often win!


1 set double 6 dominoes, pen and paper, optional games sheet (click scribd icon to download)


1. Every player draws up a 4 by 4 square grid and a 2 by 1 grid (see games sheet)

2. 9 dominoes are drawn randomly, one at a time

3. Each player then decides where to place each domino in their grid (one discard allowed)

4. After placement, the product of the 4 numbers in each row and column is calculated.

5. The winner is the player with the highest sum of the eight products.

Sample Game:

The following dominoes are drawn:


After individual placement of the dominoes, I had a score of 726 as shown in my picture below:


Note that I used the risky strategy of keeping my discard to the last domino.

I tried this game out on my Year 9 students today and they were very impressed. Reece wanted to know if I was going to sell it and make a lot of money! I replied that all the “payment” I wanted was to know that lots of kids were having fun and learning by playing my game. Reece quickly came back with: ‘But you could donate the money back into our school to buy lots of games, equipment, laptops, etc’.

Teaching Ideas:

1)  Thanks to my highly esteemed colleague Warren, who suggested that trying to find the highest total possible when playing this game (choosing any dominoes). Then what is the highest possible total with a particular game (such as the one above).

2)  How many dominoes are there in a double 6 set? Tabulate the total number of dominoes in all sets from double 1 to double 12. What is special about these numbers?

3)  Dominoes make good models of simple fractions. For example see learnc or glencoe.

4)  Problem solving  eg. Domino Squares


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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