## Dominoes – A Great Way to Teach Math Concepts

Dominoes are a great way to help students learn math concepts in a fun and exciting manner. In fact, they can be used to teach anything that can be represented with dots. Dominoes are an ideal tool for illustrating the concept of addition in the classroom.

Each domino has a specific number of dots on one side, while the other side is blank or identically patterned. The identifying marks on the domino are called “pips,” and each pip has a particular numerical value. Each domino is marked with either a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10. There are also a few other types of digits (e.g., 9) that are sometimes included in some sets to enhance the playability of certain games.

Almost all domino games fall into one of four categories: bidding games, blocking games, scoring games, and round games. When a player cannot make a play, he must call out, or “knock,” the table. At that point the table is cleared and play passes to another player.

The most common game of domino is played by two players. A double-six set of dominoes is usually used for these games. The 28 tiles are shuffled and formed into a pile known as the stock or boneyard. Each player draws seven tiles from the stock. When a player has drawn a domino that can be played, he may then play it.

When a player plays a domino, it must be placed on the table with its open end touching the end of the last domino played or a adjacent empty spot. The resulting line of dominoes is then known as the layout or string of play. Some rules require that a domino be played with its numbers showing (called a down), while others allow for the use of a blank or wild domino.

Most domino sets are made of a material such as bone, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl), ivory, or ebony, with a contrasting color to highlight the pips. There are also many sets that are made of other natural materials such as stone (e.g., marble, granite, or soapstone); other woods; metals; and ceramic clay. Increasingly, however, sets are being manufactured of polymer or similar synthetic materials.

In a typical game of domino, the players alternate turns playing a tile. Normally each domino is played so that it can be matched to other dominoes in the same pattern or with a tile that shows the same number of pips as the previous tile. During the course of a game, each player builds a chain of dominoes that grows longer and longer.

The winner is the first player to complete a full sequence of tiles, or set. This is typically achieved by finishing with a double that can be joined to the line of play with a single or a double. There are, however, many games in which the winner is determined by counting the total number of pips in his opponents’ tiles remaining in their hands at the end of the hand or game.