Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by WONDER FRIEND. WONDER FRIEND Wonders, “How Do You Connect the Dots?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, WONDER FRIEND!

How did you learn to count? Do you remember back that far? Many kids use a special kind of puzzle to help them learn numbers. Some use similar puzzles to learn the alphabet, too.

What are we talking about? Connect-the-dots puzzles, of course! Educators have used them for ages to help teach kids numbers or letters. These puzzles are also known commonly as dot-to-dot or join-the-dots puzzles.

Have you ever done a connect-the-dots puzzle? If so, you know they contain a sequence of numbers or letters. When someone draws lines to connect the dots in the right order, it creates a picture. What kinds of pictures? That’s the cool thing! You can make connect-the-dots pictures of just about anything!

Wonder Friends already know that you can use dots to create art. In fact, there’s a special type of painting—called pointillism—that turns many differently colored dots into gorgeous works of art.

But what about connect-the-dots puzzles? Can those really be used to create art? Yes, they can! Would you believe you could even create the Mona Lisa? It’s true! Don’t believe us? Just watch an artist connect 6,239 dots to form a masterpiece.

Dot-to-dot puzzles are more commonly used to teach kids to count. As they connect dots in sequence, they can learn to count to 50, 100, or more. If letters are used instead of numbers, kids can also use these puzzles to learn the alphabet.

What starts out as a bunch of dots soon becomes a picture when all those dots are connected. It can be fun to connect one dot after another and slowly see the picture emerge. In fact, this process has led to “connecting the dots” being used as a metaphor for piecing together bits of information to form a conclusion. That conclusion is often referred to as “the big picture.”

Have you ever done that before? Sometimes we experience discrete events that don’t seem to make sense by themselves. If we take a step back and look at all of those events at once, we are often able to form connections between events that help to weave them all into a unified story with a single explanation. That’s what we call connecting the dots to see the big picture!

Scientists often connect the dots in this way to come up with new theories and explanations for the things we see in the world. Their careful observations of a single event often don’t make sense until they combine that information with knowledge about other concepts. This helps them form a new theory or explanation. They can’t see the “big picture” when the events are considered individually.

Have you ever connected the dots? Maybe you’ve completed one of these puzzles to see the big picture. Or perhaps you’ve connected the dots metaphorically to understand a new idea. Either way, the process likely helped you learn something new!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.10, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2,