Teaching Math and Science With Dominoes

A domino is a flat thumb-sized rectangular block, often bearing one to six pips or dots on either end, designed for use as part of a game with 28 such pieces forming an entire set. A person may use dominoes in various games by matching end dominoes against each other or by placing them in lines or patterns to form multiple games at once.

Dominoes provide an ideal way to teach simple machines and physics principles. If a domino falls over, its entire sequence falls like bricks in an earthquake – making this tool an invaluable way of explaining concepts such as inertia, force/momentum/friction/gravity, etc. Additionally, dominoes help students visualize electricity flowing through wires as well as understand the role a switch has within an electrical circuit.

Dominoes are generally made of wood or stone, though some sets have also been produced using other natural materials, including bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother-of-pearl), ivory or dark hardwood such as ebony. Pips may be painted black or white for easy identification and some domino sets even feature half of their top half made out of mother-of-pearl or ivory and half from ebony underneath; additionally some ceramic clay or metal domino sets may even exist!

Most domino games involve a sequence of moves, with players earning points as they progress through them. Some winners claim victory simply by possessing the highest number of pips at game’s end; other types involve competing to achieve specific totals by alternately placing dominoes edge-to-edge with adjacent dominoes until reaching said total.

Dominoes provide an effective means of teaching basic addition and multiplication concepts. A teacher can demonstrate the commutative property of addition by holding up a domino with 4 dots on one side and 2 dots on another and asking their class to count all of them before asking them to name an equation such as 4+2=6 as part of an addition equation demonstration.

This activity is an effective way of teaching addition and reinforcing its fundamental principle: all dots on a domino can be added together in any order. A teacher could ask their class members to identify an addition problem such as 5+4=9 before progressing onto more difficult problems.

When playing dominoes, the key to successful strategy is making every turn count as much as possible. That means placing dominoes that either serve as opening doubles themselves, such as five-six. If unable to lay any such tiles, knock or “rap” the table instead, passing your turn.

As soon as a player’s dominoes reach zero in his hand, they begin scoring. Scoring is determined by counting all the dots and dividing by 5. Each round’s winner earns one point for every multiple of 5 in an opponent’s total total.