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This is one of a series of problems designed to develop learners' team working skills. Other tasks in the series can be found by going to this article.

Dominoes image

What are you aiming to do?

For the task:

The aim is for every member of the team to end up with a set of four dominoes which join together to form a "doughnut" where touching ends are algebraically equivalent. Like this:
The task is only successfully completed when everyone on the team has completed their domino doughnut.

As a team:

  • Responding to the needs of others
  • Helping others to do things for themselves.

Getting started

You will need to work in a team of four. If you have a fifth person available - use them as an observer (see guidance below).
In silence:
Distribute the 16 domino cards randomly amongst the team (four cards each).

Tackling the problem

How to play

Players pass dominoes to other team members in order to help one another complete their doughnut.


  • No one can talk or give non-verbal signals to other members of the team.
  • Each member of the team starts with four dominoes in front of them.
  • The dominoes in front of each person should be visible to everyone.
  • Team members can only give dominoes; they cannot take dominoes from someone else.
  • Each team member must have at least two dominoes in front of them at all times.

Use an observer to check that the team obeys the rules and to keep a record of when members of the team help someone else (rather than, for example, when they just pass a piece on without looking at what the other person or team actually needs).

Observers can offer one of the hint cards if after a period of five minutes the team is not making any progress.