A domino is a small rectangular piece of wood or plastic, marked on one side with an arrangement of spots resembling those on dice. Its other side is blank or identically patterned. A domino is usually twice as long as wide. Its vertical sides are divided visually by a line or ridge that is usually called a “stake” because it is used to hold the domino on its edge as the player places his tiles. A domino is normally ranked according to its value, which is the number of pips it has on either end (either one or two for doubles; zero for blanks). A double-six, for example, counts as 6 points. The player who achieves a certain score in a given number of rounds wins the game.
A domino set includes the pieces needed to play a number of games, each with its own rules. The games can be competitive, cooperative, or both. The games can involve counting, strategy, luck, and physical skill. The word domino may also be used to describe a system of organization or management techniques, or the act of arranging such a system.
Dominoes can be arranged to create shapes such as trains, houses, and castles. They can also be connected to form larger structures such as arches, tunnels, and bridges. A large set of dominoes can be used to teach students about geometry, measurement, and patterns. Teachers can use the dominoes to help their students develop mathematical skills by counting the dots on each side of a domino or by using the domino to demonstrate addition equations, such as 4 + 2 = 6.
There are many different types of domino games. Typically, players draw a set of dominoes from a bag or stack and place them in front of them on a table or other surface. The first player to place a domino, determined by the drawing of lots or by the person with the heaviest hand, starts the game. The other players follow the game’s rules to continue placing dominoes until someone reaches the goal score for the round, which is determined by the rules of the game.
The physicist Stephen Morris, who teaches at the University of Toronto, says that standing dominoes upright gives them potential energy, or a tendency to resist motion unless something pushes against them. But a little nudge can convert some of that potential energy into the kinetic energy that causes the domino to fall and start a chain reaction.
In fiction, the domino effect is a technique used by writers to develop their storylines. The narrator often asks a question, such as “What will happen next?” This leads the reader into a series of events that eventually lead to the climax of the novel. In order to create a successful storyline, a writer must carefully consider how the underlying events will impact each other, and how the climax will be achieved. Whether the author writes his novel off the cuff or with a meticulous outline, he must consider the domino effect to make sure his storyline is strong and compelling.