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Keep the Learning Going

Don't let the end of the year stop your students from growing over the summer

The school year is wrapping up, which means the end of the year activities and celebrations are on the horizon. In my classroom, we would play “Dots,” some people call it “Squares” in teams using DreamBox Learning Teacher Tools. Here’s how it works:

STEP 1: Make sure the students understand how to play “Dots” by calling up two students to model the game.



  1. Two people
  2. Pencil and paper

Image Courtesy of Pencil and Paper Games

Game Play

  • Draw rows of dots, separated by a good half inch, in a grid of 10 by ten columns.
  • Each player takes a turn connecting one dot to another adjacent dot horizontally or vertically, one move at a time.
  • After a while, the board begins to fill with a series of horizontal and vertical lines, some connected, some not.
  • When a player draws a line that forms a square, that player fills the square with their first initial.
  • Usually, the player, who drew the closing line on the square, gets another turn. I do not follow this rule in my classroom version.
  • Objective
  • Continue playing the game until all the dots become boxes, and the player with the most boxes completed at the end becomes the winner.

Be Creative

You can play Dots on more than just a rectangular grid; play it on a triangular lattice or a hexagonal grid, with three-sided or five-sided boxes. Be as creative as you like.

STEP 2: Now organize the game to be played as teams.

  • Divide the class into halves or teams.
  • Place popsicle sticks with student names/number into separate cups/containers, using one cup per team.
  • Each team has a different whiteboard marker to use when it is their turn to draw a line and to initial their square. (Teams will draw their lines on the board in the order of which teams turn it was to answer first and correctly.
  1. Set a time limit for students to work in teams solving the answer.
  2. Project the first question from the Teacher Tool lesson for the students to see.
  3. When the timer buzzes, students may no longer talk. (This forces them to collaborate and ensures each person in the group has the correct answer.)
  4. Draw a stick from each group’s cup & call these students forward.
  5. Each student then shows their work or explains their answer.
  6. After each student has shared their response, have the student from Team A type in their answer on your laptop or SmartBoard and click the checkmark.
  7. If all answers are correct, each student may draw a line on the whiteboard, connecting two dots.
  8. If the answer is incorrect, choose the student from Team B to type in their response (unless Stella, the voice in DreamBox, already shared the correct answer).
  9. Repeat steps 1 through 8, except Team B will go first this time.

What games and tools are you using to encourage students to use DreamBox over summer vacation?

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