Teaching Math and Number Sense With Domino
Domino is a game of skill and luck that involves matching up identical tiles and laying them down on the table in a line. The game is popular in many countries around the world and has been adapted for use on computers and video games. In addition to being a fun way to pass the time, Domino is also an excellent tool for teaching number sense and simple math concepts.
A domino is a small rectangular wood or plastic block that has an identifying mark on one side and blank or identically patterned on the other. The identifying mark may be a line or ridge, an arrangement of dots resembling those on dice, or some other symbol. A domino can also have doubles on both ends, a feature that is important for certain games.
The name of the game comes from its association with the French fad of the late 1700s, although the word and the playing piece existed in earlier senses. The earlier meaning of the word domino referred to a long hooded cloak worn with a mask at a masquerade. The term may have been influenced by the fact that domino pieces were once made with contrasting ebony black and ivory faces, reminiscent of the cloak and mask worn at a carnival masquerade.
As the name suggests, a domino is played with more than one person, and a player may win if he or she reaches a predetermined target score, such as 100 points or 200 points, in a given amount of rounds. Typical rules of domino games include determining who will play first by drawing lots or by counting the total value of the pips on opposing players’ remaining tiles. The winner of a game of domino is the player who places the final tile, which can be either a double-blank or a numbered tile (either a double or a triple).
When using domino in the classroom, teachers often ask students to count the total number of dots on each end of a domino and then to name an addition equation that represents the relation between the sum of the number of dots on both sides of the domino and the sum of the numbers on each of the two pairs of ends. This activity helps students understand the commutative property of addition, which states that the number of addends in a pair of numbers is the same no matter how the addends are arranged.
In a more complicated domino strategy game, players compete to place tiles in a “domino chain” that develops into a snake-like shape. Each player attempts to play a tile that will cause the next tile in the chain to fall, and then the other players attempt to place a tile that will trigger an even larger reaction. The chain continues until the players reach a point at which they cannot continue, at which point the winner is determined by whoever has the most total points from all their played dominoes.