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Dot Polling

Notes pinned to corkboard

Notes pinned to corkboard ©2023 Let’s Talk Science

Notes pinned to corkboard

Notes pinned to corkboard ©2023 Let’s Talk Science


How does this align with my curriculum?

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This strategy supports students in establishing priorities among a list of options, interests or actions.

Why use it?

  • To provide a structure for collaborative decision-making.
  • To support critical thinking about potential solutions to a problem.
  • To help students identify preferences among a list of options.

Tips for success

  • This strategy works best with a smaller number of choices (i.e., 3-5 options).
  • For younger students, consider giving each student a smaller number of dots to distribute.
  • For older students, consider giving each student a larger number of dots to distribute.
  • Avoid similar options, as this may cause vote-splitting. Combine options or ideas if necessary.

How do I use it?

  • Present a question and a list of options or ideas to students. Consider co-creating the list of options with students.
  • Display the options on a recording sheet or chart paper.
  • Give each student a set number of dot stickers. Each dot represents a vote.
  • Students place the stickers underneath the option or idea that they prefer.
  • You could ask them to either vote for multiple options or give them the option of placing multiple dots on the same option to indicate a higher level of interest.
  • Ask students to be silent during the voting round, so as to avoid influencing the decision of others.
  • Ask students to tally the number of stickers placed next to each option and to record the total for each option.
  • The option with the most dot stickers wins.


  • This strategy can be used in small groups or with the whole class.
  • Present images, bingo chips, or other blocks as options instead of text when working with younger students (i.e., Which activity do you prefer? Images: recess yard, drawing, book, building blocks, etc.).
  • In a virtual class, try using a virtual whiteboard like Padlet or Google jamboard. Post poll prompts on virtual sticky notes and ask students to use the “like” function to cast their votes.


  • Make connections to the math curriculum (addition, comparing and contrasting numbers, plotting data in a table, etc.).
  • Challenge students to think critically about the results. Ask if there were any factors that might have influenced them to vote for or against a certain option.
  • Connect the poll to literacy by asking students to tally the results and write a persuasive essay or hold a debate based on the top one or two choices.


Dotmocracy (n.d.). How to Use Dot Voting Effectively

Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation (n.d.). Spend A Buck