Power dot pro

ES1 – A thinking mathematically targeted teaching opportunity to develop additive strategies using different representations of numbers to 10

Dan Finkel and the Math for Love team have generously allowed us to share the Tiny Polka Dot starter kit with our NSW schools.


Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Mathematics K–10 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2023


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Watch Power dot pro video (6:47).

Create the highest total using 2 cards.

(Duration: 6 minutes and 47 seconds)

[Title over a navy-blue background: Power dot pro. Dan Finkel, Math for love. In the lower left-hand corner of the screen is the waratah of the NSW Government logo. Small font text in the upper left-hand corner reads: NSW Department of Education.]


Welcome back mathematicians. Today we're going to play a game called Power Dot Pro.

[4 colourful, square cards are laid out on the floor and are arranged in a 2 by 2 square. The card in the lower right-hand corner of the square has 2 purple dots over a blue background. The card in the lower left-hand corner of the square has three blue dots over an orange background. The card in the upper right-hand corner has a yellow numeral 4 over a purple background. The card in the upper left-hand corner has 5 dots on an aqua-coloured background. The remaining cards in the deck are stacked, facing upside down, beside the 4 cards. The back of the cards features a grey background with white polka dots and the text: Tiny Polka Dot.]


This game comes from Dan Finkel and we'll be using his tiny polka dot cards. We've got a pack here today, but if you don't have one, there is a PDF available that you can print and cut up. Now, to play this game, you'll only need four of the colours the aqua, the orange, the purple and the blue. But you can actually use the other colours as well, or even the entire deck, if you wish. And today, we're just going to be using the range from 0 to 5.

[The speaker picks up the 4 laid out cards and shuffles them into the deck. She places the deck, face down, on the floor.]


So, once you sort it out, both those colours and in that range, you can then put them back into your pile and shuffle them all up, so you can see there the different colours that I have. Now, unfortunately I don't have any students to play with me today, but I am lucky enough to have two other people join me.

[The speaker produces 2 LEGO characters – a man and a panda - and lays them on the floor.]


I've got Alex here from who you may recognise from Minecraft. He's a very keen player and we also have our panda friend as well. So, looking forward to the challenge.

[The speaker splits the deck into three even piles.]


So, the first thing we need to do is to divide our playing cards equally. So, we have three players. So, I'm going to just use a bit of a direct comparison actually just to try and make them as even as possible. Alright, that's pretty good.

[She places one deck in front of the panda, one in front of Alex and one in front of themselves.]


So, here you go, Panda. There you go, Alex and myself. Now, we're gonna be playing turning over two cards at a time today, but you can choose to turn over more if you wish. OK, so Panda, let's start with you.

[The speaker overturns 2 cards from the panda’s deck, and places them face up. She overturns a zero and a 2.]


What has Panda got? He's turned over a zero and a two. Now, he needs to combine those, add those together, and he's got a total of two. The aim of the game is to try and get the highest sum, the highest total, and whoever gets that highest total actually gets to keep all of the cards. Alright, so two is the one to beat. Let's see how Alex goes.

[The speaker overturns a 5 card from Alex’s deck.]


Oh, we already know he's already won because I can see five there, it's half of a ten frame, so then half a ten is five.

[The speaker overturns another 5 card.]


And oh, I can see five more and that's a doubles fact that I know. So, ten. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's the highest total that you could possibly get because we are working within that range of 0 to 5.

So, it is, Alex. So, wow, you're going to be hard to beat.

[From her own deck, the speaker overturns a 4 card and a 5 card.]


Four... well, I already kind of know that it's actually impossible for me to win at this point. Oh, so close! Five and a four I know is nine. So, I know that double five is ten because Alex just showed that for us. And I'm just gonna take one away because I know that four is one less than five.

[The speaker picks up the overturned cards and adds them to the bottom of Alex’s deck.]


Alright, so Alex, well done. You won that round. Your pile is getting a bit higher. Alright, Panda, off you go.

[From the panda’s deck, the speaker overturns a 3 card and a 4 card.]


Let's see, three... and four. OK, well, I know I could use my double strategy, so I know that double three is six and one more. Oh, that's the strategy you used, Panda? OK, yep. And so, that is seven. Alright, and Alex.

[From Alex’s deck, the speaker overturns a 4 card.]


Four... so I'm wondering, Alex, what do you need to be able to beat Panda? Or we can actually see there that you're going to need at least three to equal Panda. So, you're going to need at least four to beat him. Let's have a look.

[The speaker overturns a 5 card.]


Oh, you've got five. Well done. Five and four is nine. OK. And let's see. Alright, nine is the one to beat.

[From her own deck, the speaker overturns a 3 card.]


Oh, well, at this point, once again, I think I might be unlucky again, because I know that five and four is nine, which is what Alex has got. And three, and for me to get nine, I know that I would actually need six and our range only goes up to five. So, at this point I've lost, I might be lucky to get second.

[The speaker overturns a 4 card.]


Yes, and I have. I've become equal loser with Panda. But Alex, well done. You won that round again.

[The speaker picks up the cards and adds them to Alex’s deck.]


Alright, let's do one more. OK, Panda.

[From the panda’s deck, the speaker overturns a 3 card and a 1 card.]


Come on Panda, got to try and beat Alex. Oh, Panda, you're letting the team down. Alright, three and one is four. Alex, come on, be kind.

[From Alex’s deck, the speaker overturns a one card and a 3 card.]


OK, one, this is looking positive, and three is also four. Oh, we have a tie. OK, so over to me. Come on, come on, come on.

[From her own deck, the speaker overturns a 2 card.]


Two. OK, so if I get a two, I know I'm going to be equal because double two is four. So, I want at least three. Come on, come on.

[The speaker overturns a blank card.]


Oh, no! OK, so at this point, we have a tie between Alex and Panda. So, for us to know who is going to get these cards, you can actually put all the cards into the middle and the tying players play another round against each other.

[The speaker gathers the cards from the current round, and stacks them into a small pile.]


So, this is now becoming like a bounty, look at this. This is the round that you definitely want to win, OK? So, it's a bit of a face off between Panda and Alex. Alright, Panda.

[From the panda’s deck, the speaker overturns a one card, then another one card.]


One. Oh, I don't like the chances. And one is two. OK...yeah. It's not looking great for you, Panda.

[From Alex’s deck, the speaker overturns a blank card and a 2 card.]


Alex, oh, zero and two. Oh! Oh, my goodness. I don't even know, what do you do at this point because Panda has now run out of cards. Hmm..what would we do in this point?

[The speaker adds the 4 cards to the existing pile.]


I'm gonna let Panda use my cards. I think so.

[The speaker moves her deck of cards over to the panda, then overturns a blank card and a 2 card.]


Panda, I'm so sorry. Panda a zero and two. Alex, over to you.

[From Alex’s deck, the speaker overturns a zero card.]


Zero... (CHUCKLES) ..surely not. OK, we're hoping for either a one or a three to avoid a tie.

[The speaker overturns a 5 card.]


Oh, and he's come through, he's got a five. Zero and five is five. Zero and two is two. So, Alex, you have won that one and you get to collect the bounty.

[The speaker collects all of the cards and adds them to Alex’s deck.]


So, that goes to you. Well done, Alex and thanks everybody for watching how to play Power Dot Pro. See you next time.

[Text over a blue background: Over to you!

Over a grey background, the red waratah of the NSW Government logo appears amongst red, white and blue circles. Text: Copyright State of New South Wales (Department of Education), 2021.]

[End of transcript]

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