Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaching Tuesday--Schooling with Games

Kids learn better when they are having fun. Mine are no exception. Even the ones who are in public school love the games and silly songs the teachers use to help them learn. My third grader came home this week singing (to the tune of Farmer in the Dell) "The variable stands alone, the variable stands alone. When you have an equation, the variable stands alone."

D taught his 7th and 8th grade classes a game of integer football. The concepts of positive and negative numbers is a more accessible to the children when it's explained in real world, sports terms.

Teach the distributive property using a card game analogy! You distribute the numbers like you'd distribute or deal out cards! Johnny and Sarah are ready to play. You need to deal out 5 cards to each player. 5(J+S) or 5J + 5S. Each round you deal, they are given 5 cards. Johnny has played 3 rounds already and this is Sarah's first round. 5(3J +S) or 15J+5S. Johnny and Sarah are on separate teams so they can't share cards.

If you play chess (and I don't, but the kids do) you can teach many math concepts. How many move options are there for each variable change? The board is easily modified into a coordinate plane and the pieces become 3D, hands on, movable...perfect for difficult concepts and great for hands on learners. Keep track of the moves in a game and invite your child to tell or write the story (using characters) of the battle that just took place.

Another fun game to play is Vocabulary Scrabble. The play is the same as regular scrabble, but the rules are a few extra rules. Each time a word is played, you must define the word and use it in a sentence. The players also have a list of vocabulary words. If a word off the vocabulary list is played, the player gets an extra 50 bonus points.

Challenge your kids to a race. For every page they read, it equals one mile (or 10 miles for smaller readers). See who can get across the country first.

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