In most lessons, learners of all ages are introduced to sets of key words which appear in classroom talk, in books, in worksheets and assignments, in handouts and in tests. Many of these words will be accompanied by images which are used by teachers to enhance understanding of the technical terms. In Geography, for example, the words pyroclastic flow in a volcanoes topic would often be accompanied by an image or photograph. The Dominoes software allows teachers to bring together onto dominoes 20 words and/or images from a particular topic and ask students to move the dominoes around a computer screen or interactive whiteboard to make links. These links can be between an image and a word, between one image and another image or between two words. The learning in a whole-class situation is enhanced if each time a link is made, the student or group has to explain and justify the link.

Key Features

  • Easy to make a game – a few minutes once the words and images are listed.
  • Can be used by all ages and levels and in any subject.
  • Can be used for foreign language lessons.
  • Can be a team game in whole-class situations.
  • Screenshots of a completed set of dominoes can be turned into playing cards for a small group game around a table.
  • Builds a deeper understanding of a set of words and images.

Video clip - Dominoes EditorView
Video clip - Dominoes in action, Healthy EatingView
Video clip - Dominoes in action, French phrasesView
Image - Dominoes in action, French phrasesView
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Q1 What is the purpose of Dominoes?

Like the table game of Dominoes, players have to make links between two dominoes. The dominoes can be made up of words, words and images or just images in any combination the teacher chooses. The learning happens when players have to explain and justify their links.

Q2. Will Dominoes work on any whiteboard?

Yes. It does not even need a whiteboard. A PC and a digital projector is all you need to play the game with a class.

Q3. What kinds of learning can be developed with Dominoes?

All sorts. Many topics in education have a set of words and if learners have to make links between them and explain those links then deeper understanding follows. The use of images can allow learners to make links between words and images, a technique often used in languages. The need for players orally to explain and justify links improves spoken and explaining skills.

Q4. Are there published sets of Dominoes games?

No. The software comes content-free, but once a game has been developed, it can be saved and used by others. This allows a bank of games to be built very quickly.

Q5 Can users create their own games?

Yes. The Create Your own Dominoes program is a tool for doing just that.

Q6. How can Dominoes be used?

  1. It works well as a starter to reinforce key words/images that will be used during that lesson.
  2. It can also be used at the end of a lesson to test understanding of key words or images.
  3. It can be used in languages for grammar and language structures.
  4. Some teachers use it as a ‘brain break’ in long sessions. A 10-minute Dominoes game in the middle of a long session can refresh the minds.
  5. The Dominoes Editor is a network resource, so students can be give the role of preparing a game on an agreed topic for the rest of the class to play.

Q7. Are there any rules for the game?

No specific rules but the following guidelines may help to manage the game better:

  1. Organise small teams which will collaborate. Teams win a point every time they make a successful link.
  2. Explain that to make a link they must give as much information as they can to explain or justify the link.
  3. The teacher can insist on more explanation at any stage.
  4. The teacher may allow other teams to challenge links one team wants to make if they believe that more explanation is needed.