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Domino Shows

A lineup of hundreds of dominoes, all set up in careful sequence, atop each other. They’re not falling over, because they have inertia, a force that resists motion until a little nudge causes the first one to fall and start the chain reaction. Domino shows are a big deal, with builders competing to create the most imaginative and amazing domino effect before a live audience.

There are many different games played with dominoes, from simple blocking and scoring to complex patterning. Dominoes are also popular educational tools, helping students learn about commutative property, adding, and the number system.

For example, a student might use a domino with the number 4 on one side and 2 on the other to help demonstrate that addition is commutative. The teacher could ask the class to name an addition equation that represents the relationship between the total number of dots and the numbers on each end of the domino, for example 4 + 2 = 6.

Dominoes are small rectangular tiles with a line or ridge in the middle, visually dividing them into two squares, each marked with an arrangement of dots called “pips” similar to those on a die. Each domino has an identity-bearing face and a blank or identically patterned opposing face. The value of a domino is indicated by the number of spots on each face. A domino is named for the number of pips on each half of its face, or its “pip count,” and may have additional features such as an indent for counting purposes.

The most common domino game uses a double-six set. The 28 tiles are shuffled and formed into a “boneyard” or stock from which each player draws seven in turn. The first player then places a tile on the table, positioning it so that it is touching a matching end of a domino already on the game board or “table.”

Once the initial placement is complete, each subsequent domino is added to the growing chain in turn. Each new domino placed must touch a matching end of a previous tile so that the resulting chains develop in a snake-like fashion. If a tile is played so that both ends of the chain display the same value, it is said to have “stitched up” the ends.

A major theme in Domino Theory is that rising or falling communist influence in a country will have a knock-on effect in neighboring countries, ultimately leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union. For this reason, the domino theory is often used as a metaphor in political discourse. Despite the fact that the theory is not scientific, it has gained popularity in popular culture as a symbol of a global phenomenon. Like the fabled fallen dominoes, it is a dramatic and compelling metaphor. Whether in bustling city squares or quiet village homes, dominoes bring people together and foster a sense of camaraderie. In this way, they exemplify our innate need to connect with each other and to form communities.

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