Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Learning Through Play

I recently saw a teacher post online about creating a coordinated plane battleship game. And this got me thinking because the whole premise of battleship is the coordinated plane.

Throughout our childhood and the childhood of our students many board games have been played. Many of these board games have academic relationships and I think it's something that has been discussed but not often enough. So here are a few of my favorite games along with how they can be related to curriculum and standards.

Monopoly is probably the most easiest game to justify because you are learning a lot of skills within the game that relate to both mathematics and economics. For a social studies or business teacher with an economics class, The history of Monopoly along with the practical gameplay easily help students to recognize how business works along with concepts such as taxes and mortgages. Just make sure you find an older version since newer Monopoly boards have a flat tax instead of the 10%. Lazy game producers.

Spelling anyone? Scrabble rewards the use of less common letters more than popular letters. Additionally there is a strategy involved when players try to time their words to reach the triple word score or a double/corner word. Additionally points can be scored by building on another word. For examples if the word run is on the board, add n i n g to make it running and  scoring even more points.

Battleship is a game that teaches strategy and the mathematical concept of coordinated planes. Students have to know their XY axis along with being able to track and plan ahead for the different ships.

Guess Who?
Guess Who is a classic game where you can only use yes or no questions to narrow down the suspects until you solve the problem. This helps younger students learn how to be descriptive along with organizational skills to track the different characters.

Operation on its face value is not truly academic because no student is going to be presiding over a surgery where they are removing a funny bone from someone's arm. However the game itself in its construction is academic. When students are playing operation, they are learning about circuitry because in order to make the light bulb light up and buzz the circuit needs to be complete. The gripper is in essence the switch. I have even seen some students use a MakeyMakey with foil and cardboard to build their own version of Operation.

Rube Goldberg machines are a favorite of science teachers while teaching about simple machines. From pullies, to screws, Mousetrap is a great example of these complex collections of simple machines.

No not all board games are created equal and there are definitely a few which do not serve any academic value. However even those games can most likely be justified or potentially modified. Have students multiple two dice instead of add. Or