NH-DI Instant Challenge: DOMINOES – ADVANCED


Challenge: Your TASK is to build with the dominoes provided a person, place, or thing (past or present, real or fictional) and presents a PERFORMANCE which includes a detailed description/explanation of your construction.


Time: You will have up to 5 minutes to construct your item and prepare your performance and then up to 2 minutes to present your item and performance to the Appraisers.


Procedure: Part 1  —  5 minutes

You will have 5 minutes to build a person, place, or thing (past or present, real or fictional).  Your solution must be built entirely of dominoes.  As part of your structure, each domino should only touch another domino that has at least one block of the same value (a domino with a 3 and a 6 must touch only other dominos that have either a 3 or a 6 on them). This time should also be used to plan your PERFORMANCE telling a story about the item you chose to build.


Part 2 – 2 minutes

You will have up to 2 minutes to present your PERFORMANCE to the Appraisers.  This performance should include the team’s solution as well as a detailed description/explanation.


MATERIALS: 28 Dominoes.  You will be provided a pencil & piece of paper to use when planning your performance.  They may not be used as part of the performance.
Scoring: You will receive:

A: 0 or 20 points if ALL of the dominoes available are used AND are only touching dominoes with at least one block with the same value.

B: Up to 20 points for the creativity of your item,

C: Up to 20 points for the creativity of the solution,

D: Up to 20 points for the creativity of the performance,

E: Up to 20 points for how well your team works together


– – – For the Team Manager  – – –




#1) We realize that most (if not all) of you come up with all the Instant Challenges out of your own pocket.  With that in mind, we will try to keep these reasonable as far as cost.  A $1.00 box of wooden dominoes from the Dollar Store or Walmart will get the job done here.  I would suggest getting the ones that come in the wooden box with a slide.  The challenge specifically says “28 dominoes”.  Often, teams say if it does not say you can’t, you can.  The box is not part of the materials.  See if they try to us it and listen to the discussion during Part #1 to see if it comes up.

#2) Does the team try to use all 28 dominoes  for the extra 20 points and spending the time to make sure that they are all touching only dominoes with at least one similar block (a 4 for a 4) or do they decide that that is not worth the effort and focus on the other areas? Here is a risk vs. reward scenario for them.  Something important for a team to think about considering is what I refer to as the “SWSN” issue.  “SWSN” stands for “Should We Stop Now”!  Many teams try to put that last heavy item or long item on the top of a tower, or add something for creative design and end up destroying the main scoring item or spending 6 minutes of a 5 minute challenge looking for 5 points and ignoring 50!  Teaching themselves that knowing when enough is enough is a huge lesson.

#3) The challenge spells out they can go past, present, or future, person, place or thing; Do they play it safe or do they come up with an idea that lets them build something creative and have a creative story they can put behind it.  There are a total of 40 points in that area.  Don’t leave them just there.  Learning that just listing facts is not a PERFORMANCE is a valuable lesson as well.

#4) This is a challenge that can be done again and again because if they were not “successful” tell them to try it again and they can not use any idea from the first time.  If they were “successful”, making them dig deeper for a second time around will help hone their skills.