How Dominoes Work

In a world where it’s common for brands to focus on big advertising campaigns and social media strategy, one company that has remained steadfast in its business practices is Domino’s. They know that their customers have a voice and what they say matters. It has helped them stay true to their roots, yet still expand into different areas. This shows that they are willing to take a risk and be bold, in order to deliver the best to their consumers.

When you consider how large a domino setup can be, it might seem impossible for any one person to create an intricate arrangement all by themselves. But Hevesh, an artist who makes mind-blowing domino setups for events and movies, has proven that it’s possible. Her YouTube channel, Hevesh5, has more than 2 million subscribers. She follows a version of the engineering-design process when creating her masterpieces.

Dominoes have been around since the mid-18th century, but they’re most widely used for positional games. In these, players take turns placing dominoes edge to edge against each other, either identically (e.g., 5 to 5) or in such a way that the dominoes form a specified total. The value of each domino is indicated by an arrangement of dots on its face, called pips. Most dominoes have six pips, while others have as few as none and as many as ten.

A domino is normally twice as long as it is wide, making it easier to re-stack the pieces after use. Each domino also features a line in the middle to divide it visually into two squares, each of which is assigned a value. The upper square is marked with the same arrangement of pips as a die, while the lower square is blank. The sum of the values on the two faces is the rank or weight of the piece, indicating its relative strength or weakness.

As the first domino falls, much of its potential energy converts to kinetic energy—the energy that drives motion—and this energy is transferred to the next domino, giving it the push it needs to fall. Then the energy travels to each subsequent domino in the line, until all the pieces are in motion and the final domino topples.

This is an excellent activity to help students understand the commutative property of addition. For example, if a student picks a domino with the number 2 on the left and 4 on the right, they can name the equation: 2 + 4 = 6. This helps students bridge the gap between using moveable manipulatives and writing symbols representing numbers and equations.

When all the dots are lined up on each player’s dominoes, players can begin to score. The winner earns points for each multiple of five that is made by the open ends on the dominoes. This score is added to the number of total multiples that were not already earned by a team. If a team scores only one multiple of five, that score is worth three points.