Domino Buses – Beep, Beep!

I remember reading an idea for a Domino Parking Lot on Pinterest from Mathwire . Players select a domino, count the number of spots and ‘park’ it in the correct parking space. It struck me as a really fun and hands on exploration of number.

The other day, when we were playing with dominoes, a conversation started about the dots on the dominoes and how much the total of each domino was. This gave me a perfect opportunity to try this idea out! As it was spur of the moment, I improvised and roughly drew out a parking lot on a piece of construction paper.

When all of the dominoes were ‘parked’ the conversation spontaneously moved to questions about ‘Could we make a domino bus and park it too?’ and ‘How would buses be different to cars?’ The kids decided that buses ‘are bigger’ ‘and longer’ and ‘can have more people in them’. So they decided to make a parking lot that was bigger, and the spaces were longer, and placed it alongside the car park.

‘Now that you have sorted the dominoes in the (original) parking lot, can you add any of those dominoes together to make a longer bus and a bigger number?’ This is what we ended up with! Rather than placing the two dominoes together the kids placed the dominoes at either side of the ‘parking spot’ and wrote the total in the middle. They were totally engaged in making their buses!

domino buses


So much conversation and free investigation of number bonds came from placing that bus car park alongside the ‘parking lot’! I have created a ‘bus’ parking lot, to go alongside the Mathwire parking lot, or to be used separately from the car park, depending on what number work you want to explore with your students. domino buses

I also see the possibility to include the number sentence, and even further look at the multiple smaller numbers that make up the bus (the smaller numbers on the dominoes). I’m going to work on this and when I add to it I will share that too!

Click to download the Domino Buses Sheet


Published: 1/27/2014 on


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