Domino Trails
Years 2 - 6


  • One set of double six dominoes.
    Perhaps you could borrow a set if you don't have your own.
  • You could also print these Floor Dominoes.
    They are fun to use but the file is 28 pages.
  • Playing Board (if using normal dominoes) and Recording Sheet (you might need more than one).
  • A calculator (there's one on your phone) to use whenever you want.
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.
This activity is written as if you are using Floor Dominoes and the Recording Sheet.
It's the same if you are using normal dominoes, except you use the Playing Board when you need it.

Getting Started

First, explore the domino set.

  1. Spread the dominoes anywhere all over the floor. Write answers in your journal.
    1. What is the largest number of dots on one (1) side of a domino?
    2. What is the smallest number of dots on one (1) side of a domino?
    3. What is the smallest number of dots if you count both sides of a domino?
    4. Why do you think this is called a double six set of dominoes?

Have fun exploring Domino Trails.

    1. Make a row with these dominoes in line:
      [0 | 0] ... [1 | 1] ... [2 | 2] ... [3 | 3] ... [4 | 4] ... [5 | 5] ... [6 | 6]
      Each of these dominoes is the leader of a team.
      The other dominoes in the team must have the same number of dots as their leader.
      Finish these double domino teams.
    2. Why are some dominoes not in these teams?
    3. Find a way to make teams for dominoes that can't be in the doubles teams.
    4. If a person asked you if any dominoes are repeated, how would you answer them?
    5. What is the total number of dots in a set of dominoes?
      Can you check your answer another way?
    1. Choose any domino and put it in the middle of the floor as a start.
    2. Starting in this way teachers used the rest of the dominoes to make this picture.
      Their rule was: At every edge where dominoes touch the dots must match.
      Use your start domino and their rule. Can you make a picture with all the dominoes?
    3. Can you make a line with your start and all the dominoes matching?

The teachers decided their picture was a bit messy, so they started to rearrange it.

In a little while they made both these pictures.
Investigate each picture and explain it in your journal.
Look for patterns in each photo.



Now the teachers have made a Domino Trail with three (3) dominoes.
The dots on the dominoes add to seventeen (17).
In the first picture of the Recording Sheet:
  • Write 17 in the circle.
  • Use dots or digits to record the three dominoes.
  • Cross off the two dominoes pictures that aren't needed.

All these equations can be seen in the photo.
Choose two and write them in their picture:

  • 17 = 6 + 1 + 5 + 0 + 4 + 1
  • 17 = 1 + 1 + 9 + 6
  • 17 = 7 + 5 + 5
  • 17 = 6 + 5 + 4 + (2 x 1)
  • 17 = (3 x 5) + (2 x 1)
  • 17 = (3 x 4) + (3 x 1) + 2
For some of them you have to imagine the dot patterns breaking up and shifting around.

This time the teachers have made two more domino trails to equal seventeen.
  • Record them in their own space on the Recording Sheet.
  • Write at least two equations for each picture.
Find your own way to make a 3-domino trail and a 5-domino trail to equal 17. Record your work and write two equations for each one.

Investigating Domino Trails

  • Open this Domino Trails Starter.
    You can read it on screen or print it.
  • Investigate Domino Trails using the questions on the Starter.
    Record your work using the Recording Sheet and your journal.

Just Before You Finish

  • Draw an oval and turn it into a face that shows how you feel about this activity. Add a speech bubble if you wish.
  • Make a list of the mathematics you practised when you were doing this activity.


Answers & Discussion

These notes were originally written for teachers. We have included them to support parents to help their child learn from Domino Trails.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre