## The Many Uses of Dominoes

Dominoes are flat, thumbsized, rectangular blocks that each bear from one to six pips or dots. A domino is normally played so that its ends touch other dominoes, forming a chain of dominoes. Each player in turn places a domino on the table positioning it so that its end matches one of the ends of another domino. If the match is perfect the result is a domino chain. If the match is incorrect the player “knocks” or raps the table and play passes to the next player. The player that finishes with the most points wins the hand.

In addition to being fun, dominoes can be used in learning about math. For example, students can create equations for the number of dots on each end of a domino. They can also use the dominoes to build structures and lines that form shapes, arcs, or grids. Students can even try to plan out a complicated domino track or pattern, and then draw arrows showing how the dominoes would fall. Then they can see whether their design works – or not.

Dominoes can also be used in writing. As you plot your manuscript, consider how the domino effect will work in each scene. This will help you keep the story moving forward in a way that makes sense to readers. If your hero does something that is immoral, for instance, you need to explain why. This might be a difficult scene to write, but it’s important for the reader to understand the logic behind your hero’s actions.

Although the term domino is most often applied to the game, it is also used to describe a series of events or a cascade. For example, if a student falls asleep in class, it might have a domino effect on the rest of the class and cause other students to fall asleep. A domino effect can also be applied to social and legal events. For example, when an individual breaks the law, it can affect others and lead to a chain reaction.

While modern sets of domino are most commonly made from polymer, they were originally carved or inlaid from bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, and ebony – materials that were readily available at the time. Many people still prefer these natural materials to the plastic alternatives. These natural materials are typically heavier, and may feel more substantial in the hand than their polymer counterparts.

The goal of most domino games is to lay down all of your dominoes before your opponent does. The first person to do this is the winner of that hand. To play, each player begins by placing a domino in their hand according to the rules of the game. Once you’ve placed a domino, it must be played when your turn comes. If you can’t play your domino, you must knock, or rap the table, and the turn passes to the next player.