Instructional programs from prekindergarten through
grade 12 should enable all students to--
* build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving;
* solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts;
* apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems;
* monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving.
understanding of movement concepts, principles, strategies, and
tactics as they apply to the learning and performance of physical
regularly in physical activity.
physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression,
and/or social interaction.
this idea with your students. Have students ask their parents to
name three common schoolyard games that they played when they were
children. After gathering the names of the games, have students
find information about them on the Web or in books to learn the
rules and how to play them. Finally, have students teach the game
to the class. Use the rubric below as a self-evaluation tool:
Did I learn the names of three games my parents played?
Did I teach the class three rules to one of the games?
Did I give credit to where I found the rules to that game?
Did I teach the class the game?
Did they understand the game?
Games from the Past
Children Playing Jump Rope
Courtesy of The Library of Congress
a Circle Game
Courtesy of The Library of Congress
From the Ancient Egyptian
game of Senet to the digital games of today, children have reveled
in the strategies, stories, and intrigue that challenge the mind.
Teaching history, math, science, reading/languages arts, and the
unified arts through games or game construction can reinforce skill,
concept, and application level knowledge.
History of Board
Online Guide to Traditional Games
Did you know
that Wei Qi (Go) is considered by many to be the world's greatest
strategic skill game? What makes
Shogi or Japanese Chess
a more interesting contest? Why did the Shaturanga players dispense
with the dice in early Hindu civilization? Find the answers to
these questions along with detailed explanations and illustrations
of games that were created prior to 1900.
oh-wah-ruh) is a game that has its origins in Ethiopia. There are
a number of variations including Awale
and Wari. The
game is played with a hollow wood plank and some stones or seeds.
Because it is a strategy game, you may want to tie it into problem-solving
lessons. Awale, an elegant shareware program, is designed for
both Macintosh and Windows. A trial copy can be downloaded
If you like the game, the cost is $10.
meets the NTCM standards and is based on the Factor Game from the "Prime
Time" unit of the Connected Mathematics
Project [http://connectedmath.msu.edu/]. The purpose
of the lesson is to assist students in recognizing prime and composite
numbers by analyzing the strategies involved in the game. Several
activities are presented in digital and paper format.
Mancala is another
ancient game similar to Oware that uses seeds or beads. The game
is played counter-clockwise, with six playing
pits and one scoring pit. You begin with three seeds in each
pit. The object of the game is to place all of your seeds
in the scoring
pit and capture your opponent's seeds. You will be playing against
the computer at this site, with all of the moves explained.
Owari Bead Game
program written for the Palm. It includes English, French, German,
and Japanese versions. For those browsing the
page from their Palms, executable files are available. There
rules for the game and a list of links to other related Web sites.
Can you beat
the computer? Try your skills at this Web site, where you will
also find the laws of chess and frequently
In Senet, an
Ancient Egyptian game, you throw sticks to see how many squares
to move your piece forward. This virtual version
the rules and provides hints about which moves are okay. This
is a great starting point when learning about civilization
customs of the Ancient World.
Sieve of Eratosthenes
What a great
way to learn about prime numbers. What student will ever forget
the concept that Eratosthenes developed centuries
ago? The Sieve of Eratosthenes drains out composite numbers
prime numbers behind. On this page you learn about Eratosthenes
and his step-by-step process. To further enhance your knowledge
you can play with the sieve through an interactive Java applet.
Make a Harry Potter Board Game
One of the most
popular series of books these days is J. K. Rowling's "Harry
Potter" series. In this lesson students will learn how to
write inference and recall questions as they create a trivia game.
Children's Games from Around the World
The games on this list are known as abstract strategy games and they fall into several categories based on the objective of game play. Abstract strategy games rely on player's thinking, logic and visual perception skills. They do not rely solely on chance or athleticism! (Good news for many of us, ha ha ha)
Children's Folk Games
For the international community, the I*EARN organization has created
a Web site dedicated to the preservation of children's folk games.
The games, rhymes, tongue twisters, and traditions are written
in the native languages. This is a great site for ESL and foreign
Games Kids Play
Remember playing marbles or red light green light? At this novel
site there are over 250 games to look up. Each game lists the
rules and directions for playing.
Make Your Own Game Board
Before embarking on a lesson involving the creation
of a game, it is important to provide students with a foundation
and experience in playing games. Study the history and evolution
of games. Bring a variety of game boards for students to examine,
emphasizing the design and rules that are necessary elements
for a successful product. Play some of the board games online.
students think about these questions:
1. What was the objective of the game?
2. What were the rules? Did you understand them?
3. How were the moves determined? Were dice, cards, a spinner, or
something else used?
4. What pieces were used to move around the board?
5. Was the game similar to another game that you have played or
6. How was the game designed? Was there one path or several paths?
What obstacles caused you to lose a turn or go backward? What shortcuts
allowed you to go forward?
7. What reward was at the end of the game?
When it is time to begin the creative process, students will be
better prepared to generate a multitude of ideas and strategies for
devising their own games. Be sure to visit the Board Game Design
Project Web site.
Board Game Design Project
Bernie Dodge, professor of educational technology at
San Diego State University and originator of the WebQuest, has created
on exploratory learning through simulation and games. Within
this course are excellent guides for game board design, a lesson
an evaluation rubric, and examples of completed projects. The
entire design process is examined thoroughly from content analysis
game structure. This is the definitive site to visit for an in-depth
study of how to create games.
Adventure in Wonderland
In this example,
a sixth grade student created a game based on the book, Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland. The design of the game was patterned
after the Uncle Wiggily game of the 1930s. The Uncle Wiggily stories
by Howard Garris were about a rabbit and his friends. In the game,
there are a series of cards with references to places and characters
in the stories along with how many spaces to move.
Number of Players:
How to Play:
Start at number one. Take a card from the multicolored stack and
move that many numbers. If it says take an orange card, then take
an orange card and follow its directions. Go to the specific place.
If you reach a place such as the rabbit hole, Duchess' house, etc.,...
then you must go forward or backward a few spaces or lose one or
two turns. Whoever reaches Home Sweet Home first is the winner
and made it through Wonderland.