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Could you knock down a building using only dominoes?

# Could you knock down a building using only dominoes?

Lesson narration:
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DISCUSS:

When you set up a domino, you’re putting part of it up high. Can you think of any other situation where putting something ‘up high’ causes something special to happen?

Hint...

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DISCUSS (1 of 2):

Can a domino knock down one that’s just slightly bigger than itself?

Try doing this yourself if you can. You can use books if you don’t have dominoes. Or you can go to the next slide to see a video of us doing it.

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HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED:

It worked! A domino has just enough energy to knock down a domino that’s slightly bigger than itself. Now that you know this, go to the next slide.

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DISCUSS (2 of 2):

CHALLENGE: Do you think there could be a way to knock down something REALLY big, like a domino as tall as a building, using only smaller dominoes?

Draw a picture if you can think of an idea.

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DISCUSS:

In terms of energy, why is it possible to use something the size of a brick to knock down something the size of a small house?

Can you explain this? Make a drawing if it’s helpful.

Think about: Where is there stored energy? Where does the stored energy come from?

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DISCUSS:

Why do you think scientists call falling dominoes a “chain reaction”?

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If you have a friend nearby, you can help each other with the next few steps. But if you are working alone, don’t worry!

We have added some special steps just for you. If a step says you need a friend to help, just go to the next step to see how you can do it alone!

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# Extensions

###### Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
• Video & Discussion: Trace the path of energy in an amazing chain reaction.
• Reading : Rube Goldberg — cartoonist and engineer.
• Videos: Fun videos that will inspire you.
• Activity: A chain reaction made of craft sticks and paper cups.
• Online simulation: Build a chain reaction challenge online.
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# Watch and Discuss

La Macchina Botanica (The Botanical Machine) starts when a ball rolls down a ramp and ends by watering a plant. Watch the video for fun. Then watch it again, looking for places that energy is stored. Can you identify where energy is stored and how energy is transferred from one object to another.

Some questions to talk about:

• What makes a pendulum swing?
• Can you find any levers that aren’t horizontal?
• Does this give you any ideas for a chain reaction you could make on a bulletin board?
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# Ideas from Experts

Looking at the chain reactions that other people have built will give you ideas for your own chain reaction. There are many chain reactions online. Here are some of our favorites.

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# Activity: Herringbone Chains

If you don’t have dominoes but you want to make a long contraption that will fall down in an interesting way, you’re in luck. All you need to make a herringbone chain is popsicle or craft sticks and paper cups.

This 7-minute video from Kinetic King Tim Fort tells you everything you need to know.

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# energy

1 of 7

the ability to do an action
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# stored energy

2 of 7

energy that is not in use, but is saved inside something, such as batteries or rubber bands
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# chain reaction machine

3 of 7

a machine that uses a series of energy transfers, such as one domino knocking over a line of dominoes
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# energy transfer

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when energy travels from one place to another
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# lever

5 of 7

a simple machine, made of a beam that pivots from one point
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# experiment

6 of 7

a test used to discover new information about a question
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# engineer

7 of 7

a person who uses science to come up with solutions to problems
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Lesson narration:

# Activity Prep

Print Prep

In this lesson, students construct an explanation of how energy is stored, released, and transferred in chain reactions, such as falling dominoes. In the activity, Build a Chain Reaction (Part I), students are presented with an engineering design challenge to create their own chain reaction machine--a project they will continue in Lesson 5. Students experiment with a “Chain-Reaction Starter Kit.” This kit includes a lever and a ramp, which serve as the first two steps of a chain-reaction machine.

Preview activity
Exploration

#### 28 mins

Hands-On Activity

Wrap-Up