Puzzle: Exploding Dots

I’m planning ahead for my fall semester homeschool co-op math class. Definitely going to try this with the kids…

Encourage your children to have some fun this week with this Exploding Dots math puzzle from The Global Math Project. What do they notice? Does it make them wonder?

More Explosive Math

You may recognize the connection between Exploding Dots and binary numbers. Or not — the puzzle is accessible to people at all ages and levels of mathematical sophistication.

But what I find amazing is that this puzzle can help us understand all sorts of topics in elementary arithmetic and algebra. So cool!

If you’d like to investigate Exploding Dots in depth, check out James Tanton’s free G’Day Math online course.


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2 thoughts on “Puzzle: Exploding Dots

  1. I disagree that this should be used in elementary school. It takes away from base ten number sense. If kids can follow the 2:1 concept they can follow the 10:1 concept (and we have all kinds of manipulatives to use) . I know as my kids loved maths and did very well on provincial testing. I am not sure why anyone thinks this is even a choice for elementary kids. I don’t have a PhD but I do have BSc in maths and have taught this age group. I do not believe James has done the latter.

    1. That’s an interesting perspective, Judy. Do your students get confused by puzzles like this? My elementary math club kids find the Exploding Dots puzzle intriguing, and it helps them see place value in ways they hadn’t before.

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