Dominoes and Chain Reactions for the Win!

When my children were little we had this fabulous game called "Domino Rally". They would set it up in our foyer where there was a wooden floor and play for hours. They meticulously set up the line of dominoes and watched the tumbling blocks knocking into structures and cheer when it worked.

If you have ever watched domino chain reaction videos you completely understand the fascination my kids had with this. So, I knew my STEM kids would feel the same!

STEM with chain reactions! Kids build chain reaction contraptions using a variety of classroom items like craft sticks and dominoes. Great fun!

How Can We Do This in STEM Class?

I really thought all we would need would be dominoes, craft sticks, and maybe some odd things like cups or even straws. Then I watched a video.

(The video we watched can be found >>>>> HERE.)

 And, of course, we had to recreate those models in the video.


I already had the orange track! (I will tell you later how to grab a set of track for free- if you teach 4th grade!) I found dominoes at the Dollar Tree and Dollar General and we got busy.


STEM with chain reactions! Kids build chain reaction contraptions using a variety of classroom items like craft sticks and dominoes. Great fun!
My fifth graders had the best time with this activity. It presented hem with so many frustrations, but also some terrific problem-solving.

They repeated their trials over and over and over- trying to perfect the marble's path so it would knock down the cups or dominoes.

What materials do you need?

I grabbed anything I could find in my cabinets I thought kids would use!
STEM with chain reactions! Kids build chain reaction contraptions using a variety of classroom items like craft sticks and dominoes. Great fun!
You can see some other materials in the photos that we added! I had those large cardboard tubes- which are toilet tissue tubes from industrial rolls. I pulled out a box of Unifix cubes and borrowed wooden blocks from our Pre-K class.

The colored sticks and wheels you see are from a large "Tinker Toy" set. Kids used those in a variety of ways.


STEM with chain reactions! Kids build chain reaction contraptions using a variety of classroom items like craft sticks and dominoes. Great fun!

These are precarious!

One thing we learned quickly is that a display might work and the kids would set it up to repeat while the class watched- only to find that it did not work the second time!

So, we started calling kids over to watch as soon as a table was ready. Some of these trials were hugely successful and some fizzled. 

STEM with chain reactions! Kids build chain reaction contraptions using a variety of classroom items like craft sticks and dominoes. Great fun!
Kids set up simple demos initially, but when those worked they began to get more and more complicated. Overall, it was one of our favorite activities ever!

Videos!

Take a look at a couple of quick videos we made:


The video above is showing a setup that did work until I started trying to film it! (Of curse!)

Here is another one:


Now, if you are interested in the Hot Wheels track here's a link to request a set: HOT WHEELS
That site has an application you can fill out (if you teach fourth grade) and they will send you a large set. Periodically, they will have a note that it is not available, but keep checking back. It will suddenly be ready to order.

More links below for Chain Reaction Items you can grab.  Have fun!

2 comments

  1. Replies
    1. My fifth graders had a blast creating these! Thanks for visiting!

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