Try to connect nine equally spaced dots using four lines or fewer without lifting a pen!
This activity literally requires thinking outside of the box in order to solve it.
- Nine dot template (optional)
- Pen or pencil
- Use the template below or draw a square grid of nine dots, with three rows of three dots spaced evenly apart. Make the dots about 1/4-inch in diameter, or about the size of a pea.
- Try to connect all of the dots using four lines or fewer without lifting the pen.
- A solution may not be found right away. In fact, it may take a long time. Don’t give up—keep on trying new ways!
This is a tricky challenge. It is important to observe how these dots are not dots per se, but rather are round discs or filled-in circles. This adjustment in thinking can help children think about how lines can cross at angles other than 0, 45 and 90 degrees. Do not worry about extending the lines “outside the box” of the three rows of three dots. That’s the only way to solve the infamous nine-dot problem!
Questions to consider:
- Talk about how you felt during this activity. Were you stressed or frustrated? How did you deal with that emotion?
- Discuss how you came to your solution. Did you imagine drawing the lines or did you try it out on the paper?