Learning About Dominoes


Dominoes are small rectangular blocks marked with groups of spots that resemble those on dice. They can be made from wood, ivory, horn or plastic and are used for playing games. Domino is also the name of a company that makes software for business processes and a chain of restaurants that serve pizza, pastas and other dishes.

Domino, or dominoes, are a great way to illustrate how to solve addition equations and reinforce the commutative property of multiplication. Students can also use them to discover how the number of dots on each end of a domino can affect its total value, for example 3 + 4 = 7 and 2 + 5 = 7. This is a great way to help bridge the gap between using moveable manipulatives and only writing symbolic representations of numbers and equations.

The most famous use of domino is as a system of game rules, but the concept behind them can be applied to many different activities and lessons. A good starting point is the simple game of domino, which can be played with any number of people and involves laying one domino on top of another, then scoring by counting all of the exposed ends. The first player to score a given amount wins the round.

Another way to play domino is by creating a picture with the dominoes, as described in a book by children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. The pictures can be as simple or elaborate as the artist wishes. The book also includes instructions for several other creative projects, such as making domino art with the help of a stencil.

In order to make an intricate domino arrangement, it takes a lot of energy. And that energy needs to be transmitted from domino to domino in order for the chain reaction to continue. As physicist Stephen Morris explains, when a domino is set upright it has potential energy based on its position. As it falls, that energy is converted to kinetic energy, which allows it to push onto the next domino. That energy is then transferred again and again until all the dominoes have fallen over.

There are hundreds of variations on the basic domino game, and many are designed to be more challenging than others. For example, some are arranged so that the first domino must cover two adjacent sides of an open space, while others require that the domino cover a specific number of spaces or that doubles count as either one or two (i.e. a 6-6 counts as six or 12).

Some of the most sophisticated dominoes are created by professional artists, such as Catherine Hevesh, who has set the Guinness World Record for the most dominoes toppled in a circle. Hevesh’s creations take several nail-biting minutes to fall, but she knows that her designs are only possible because of one physical phenomenon: gravity.