The Domino Effect

Domino is a tile-based game with the unique feature of being able to create very complex structures. Normally, domino is played by two players who alternate turns. When a player is unable to play a domino, he must “knock” (rap the table) and pass play to his opponent. A player wins the game if all of his remaining dominoes are positioned in their desired positions on the table at the end of the round.

Dominoes are a familiar sight in classrooms and homes. Traditionally, they are made from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell, ivory, or a dark hardwood such as ebony with contrasting black or white pips inlaid or painted. Many more exotic materials have been used, including frosted glass and crystal. Some sets are carved from natural stones such as marble, granite or soapstone, and others are cast from resin or polymer.

When playing a domino game, the first domino is set down and the other dominoes are placed adjacent to it in a line. Then one player begins to lay a domino on top of it, or if the domino has no spots on it at all, a wild side may be ascribed to it. As the dominoes are positioned, they build up and a chain reaction is set in motion as each of the dominoes falls over one after the other. The entire sequence is often referred to as the “domino effect,” because it shows how an initial action can trigger much greater consequences.

The domino effect is not just a physical phenomenon, it also applies to our daily lives and to how we manage ourselves and others. One of the most important aspects of managing ourselves is learning to prioritize our tasks. It is critical to identify our lead domino, the task that will have the biggest impact if it gets done first. This allows us to focus our efforts without getting overwhelmed by all of the other things that we need to do.

Another way to apply the domino effect is to understand how changing one behavior can cause a change in related behaviors. For example, studies show that people who reduce their amount of sedentary leisure time typically decrease their fat intake. The domino effect can be seen in many areas of life, from business to family to health.

Using dominoes to teach addition equations can help students develop the connection between moving manipulatives and writing with only symbols. This task demonstrates the commutative property of addition by showing that the total number of dots on each end of a domino is the same no matter which direction it is oriented. For example, a teacher can place a domino with a 4 on the left and a 2 on the right and ask the class to name the addition equation (2+4=6).

Hevesh’s mind-blowing domino setups are created by following a version of the engineering-design process. First she considers the theme or purpose of an installation, then brainstorms images and words that might be associated with it. Finally, she lays out a prototype of her design to see how it will work before finalizing the layout.