Dominoes are small rectangular blocks of wood, clay, or plastic with numbers (or dots) printed on each end. They are normally twice as long as they are wide, making them easier to re-stack after use. Dominoes can be used to play a variety of games. Some involve blocking or scoring, while others are more like a game of chance in which players attempt to match tiles with the same number of matching pips. Dominoes are also used to build structures, such as lines of dominoes that form pictures or a wall, and to create 3D shapes.
A domino has a value, or ranking, based on the number of pips on both ends. A domino with one pips on each end is usually referred to as a single, while a domino with two equal numbers on both ends is called a double. A domino with no pips on either end is known as a blank.
The game of domino begins with the shuffling of all of the tiles in a set. The shuffled tiles are then placed face down on a flat surface and each player draws seven dominoes, with the person drawing the highest double going first. If a person does not draw a domino with the same value as the starting domino, that player must wait until someone else places a domino that matches.
In the earliest games, players simply arranged a line of dominoes on the table, and then tipped over one domino in the line, causing it to fall over and trigger the next domino in the row to tip over. This chain reaction continued until all the dominoes were tipped over. Dominoes can also be stacked on their sides, creating long vertical columns. This type of stacking is sometimes done for artistic purposes or to make a specific design, such as the Star of David.
As the popularity of dominoes increased, people began to think of new ways to use them. They were soon used as toys, and children enjoyed stacking them on their edges in long lines. The fact that the smallest domino could tip over the next one in the line gave rise to the term “domino effect,” which describes how one simple action can have much larger–and often catastrophic–consequences.
Dominoes are also commonly used as a learning tool for math and physics. They are easy to grasp and can be manipulated to show the principles of gravity and momentum.
Stephen Morris, a physicist at the University of Toronto, notes that when a domino is standing upright, it has potential energy because it is lifted up against the force of gravity. But when that domino falls, the potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as it pushes on the next domino and causes that domino to fall and so on.
Dominoes can be a fun way to entertain kids, as well as adults. But they can also teach a lot of important life lessons about the importance of planning and taking risks. For instance, it is important to plan ahead, and the best way to do this is by laying out a pattern for the dominoes to follow. In addition, it is vital to pay close attention to details because this can have a big impact on the outcome of a domino game.