Teaching Kids About Dominoes

Domino is a tabletop game of skill and strategy that has been enjoyed for generations. It originated in Italy during the 1700’s and became one of the most popular games played by families in their homes and pubs.

Dominoes are a great way to teach students how to count, and they can also be used to introduce the concept of commutative addition. For example, a teacher can have students work together to build a series of domino chains, laying each tile with its corresponding end touching (i.e., one’s touching ones and two’s touching twos). Then, once the chains are completed, the students can call out how many dots total are present on each domino to help reinforce that the total number is the same regardless of which direction the domino is oriented.

Another fun use for domino is to set them up in a “track” and then knock over the whole sequence. This can be done on a piece of paper or even a board. Dominoes come in a variety of colors and shapes, and students can create their own designs that involve straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, and 3D structures like towers and pyramids. The most common commercially available domino sets are the double six (with 28 tiles) and the double nine (with 55 tiles). Larger sets of dominoes are available for players who want to play long, complex domino chains.

When a player begins a domino chain by playing a tile, the other players must immediately respond with a matching tile to the left of it. The chain then develops into a “snake-line” shape. Depending on the rules of the game, a player may continue to add tiles to the left until all players have a chance to lay a tile or the chain reaches a point at which no further moves can be made.

Hevesh has a special knack for creating mind-blowing domino setups. She uses a version of the engineering-design process, starting by considering the theme or purpose of an installation and brainstorming images or words she might want to incorporate. Once a design is finalized, she can begin constructing the dominoes.

When writing your novel, you can think of the arc of your story in terms of dominoes. Whether you compose your manuscript off the cuff or carefully plan it out with an outline, the success of your story comes down to one simple question: What happens next? And just like a domino effect, all the small victories that happen along the way can lead to a dramatic outcome at the end. The best domino actions are high leverage, meaning that they have a big impact with a small input. Just like a coder who writes a program, it is important to check your work for these domino actions—one action that triggers a chain of events.