Learning About Dominoes


Domino, also spelled dominoes, are small flat blocks used as gaming pieces that can be laid edge to edge in order to form lines or other structures. Dominoes are usually made of wood or other rigid material, although they can be made of any material including plastic. They may be colored or plain and are often engraved with numbers and other symbols. A typical domino set includes 28 tiles. Some larger sets are available, but they are used mainly for games that involve more than one player. The word is derived from the Latin dominium, meaning “power.” The word’s earlier sense was that of a long hooded cloak worn together with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade.

The most commonly played game with dominoes involves laying them side by side and then scoring points as the line of dominoes falls. Each domino has a number of identifying marks, called pips, on one side and is blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying marks are arranged in an alternating pattern of three and two dots, with some pips having no dots at all.

Each time a domino is placed on its edge, it stores potential energy. When the next domino is placed on that same edge, it releases that energy as the first domino falls. This energy is transformed from potential energy into kinetic energy, the energy of motion, as the domino moves forward. The process of releasing that energy causes each successive domino to fall, producing the chain reaction.

Some dominoes have a specific value, such as a 5, that must be scored when it is played. Others, like the 6-6, have open ends that can be matched with other dominoes. Depending on the rules of the game, players can then ascribe a value to those open ends and score points for matching pairs.

Dominoes can be stacked on top of each other to make longer structures. This type of domino play is known as positioning or blocking games. Positioning games are a great way to learn about combining the different types of dominoes and creating patterns.

In addition to their obvious uses for playing games, dominoes can be helpful for learning about the concept of the Domino Effect: that a change in one behavior can cause a shift in related behaviors. For example, if someone starts exercising regularly, they might also begin to eat less fat. While this doesn’t have the same dramatic impact as a chain reaction, it is still a positive side effect of changing one behavior.

Oftentimes, when we work on projects that require a lot of focus and time, it is difficult to know what tasks are good dominoes. Good dominoes are those that lead to the completion of a bigger task or goal. For example, writing a financial plan could be considered a good domino because it will create the necessary steps to achieve a more financially secure future.