Play those ivories and bones

sexuality education

I love, love, love the critical thinking and connections that happen during this game. It’s basically the same game as the classic version, but it asks that the game players make connections between ties based on contraceptive information rather than matching numbers. These kinds of real-world putting-together-of-pieces is fantastic. It’s all about the connections, both in the game and in real life.


By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify three ways contraceptive methods work to reduce the risk of pregnancy.
  2. Describe the instructions for correct use of three contraceptive methods.
  3. Categorize at least one contraceptive method as being a barrier, behavioral, hormonal, intrauterine or surgical method.

Declines in adolescent pregnancy rates are largely attributed to increased and improved use of contraceptives as well as a decrease in sexual activity. Yet, recent data suggests that approximately 750,000 teenage women experience pregnancy in the United States yearly. Young people need to know the facts about contraceptive methods, including abstinence, so they can make informed decisions about preventing pregnancy. Reviewing information about contraceptives is helpful so that young people can easily recall the knowledge they learned in order to use it correctly and consistently. Contraceptive Dominoes is a learning game that allows young people to apply information about contraceptive methods and abstinence.

The rules for matching sides to side are as follows:

Side in play contains:

Use a domino in your hand that contains:
Name of contraceptive


·       Same name of contraceptive
·       Correct type of method
·       Correct description of how the method works
·       Correct directions for use
·       Relevant information that correctly applies
Type of contraceptive ·       Same type of contraceptive
·       Name of contraceptive that correctly applies
·       Correct description of how the method works
Description of how the method works to prevent pregnancy ·       Same description of how the method works
·       Name of contraceptive that correctly applies
·       Type of method that correctly applies
Directions for use ·       Same directions for use
·       Name of contraceptive that correctly applies
Information about a contraceptive ·       Same information
·       Name of contraceptive that correctly applies

Encouraging students to understand the way the ways that different contraceptive methods connect or correlate – or don’t connect or correlate! – is critical. The thing here is that merely matching the ties, in the way of traditional dominoes, works, but it’s not the point of the game. The overarching issue is that you match in other ways.

I do wish, though, that the authors of the game had modified it a little more so that contraception methods could only be matched when they can be used at the same time. This would be to drive home the point that a condom can’t be used with another condom – but it can be used with hormonal birth control or an IUD.