Grandpa and I stopped at a garage sale on the way to visit the
grandkids and bought a beautiful set of dominoes. They were satisfyingly sturdy with bright colored dots.
“What are they for?” asked Younger Grandson.
“I know,” said Oldest Grandson. He pulled out five dominoes, stood them in a row, and pushed the one on the end. They all fell over with a satisfying clatter.
An epic domino line building battle began. “You be the judge, Grandma,” decided Oldest Grandson. “You tell us whose domino line is best.”
“How will I know?” I asked.
“You just know,” Oldest Grandson assured me.
“Mine will be the best.” Youngest Grandson was confident.
The boys dictated. I wrote. It turns out that the best domino line uses all the dominoes, has a split, and all the dominoes fall down.
Now that the boys knew what to do to meet the standard for a good domino line, they divided the dominoes and went right to work. Only Granddaughter made an appearance, deliberately kicking over Youngest Grandson’s domino line and went off to her room for a time-out. Youngest Grandson sighed, but quickly put his line back together even better.
“What could you do to exceed standard?” I wondered.
Oldest Grandson had plenty of ideas. He took the pen and added to the list:
Using a bridge.
Using 2 splits
Building started again with enthusiasm. Something that was good could be made even better. Having a set of criteria to measure their work meant that both boys could see themselves as winners. There was no grading on the curve in domino line building.
When the dominoes builders finally used up all their ideas, we took a YouTube break to watch the Seattle Public Library Domino Book Chain World Record video.
Where do you see kids growing their understanding of the value of standards by using them in their real lives?
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