My daughter came home from school (day before winter break) trying to explain this “awesome” new game she had just learned at school. Now, I taught 1st grade for 5 years so I speak 7year-old pretty well, but to be honest I had no clue what game she was referring to….so I did my best to be mindful and attentive as she explained the game and then we just went on with our evening, I thought that my good listening skills had sufficed her needs…I was wrong!
A week into winter break, we were at the grocery store and she asked me if we could buy eggs with the paper carton. So random right??? I had no clue why she asked for this but it wasn’t like she was asking for a toy so I bought them and didn’t think a thing about it. 3 days later my mini-me asked me to empty out the egg carton so she could use it. Again, random but whatever, I put them in a bowl and gave her the carton. She immediately got scissors and started cutting, then started rummaging through our board games and finally asked if she could borrow two of my mason jars. I continued to multi-task as I watched her create and gather her “materials”.
After about 20 minutes she dragged me away from my computer to see what she had been working on. I was intrigued and immediately asked her what it was, she explained to me that it was the game she learned at school last week and asked me if I wanted to play it with her. I played one round with her and was HOOKED! As soon as we got done playing, I did some Google-ing and found that this amazing game my 7 year old had just taught me was called, “Mancala”!
The critical and strategic thinking needed to skillfully play Mancala blew me away, not to mention the countless math connections that I was able to show my daughter as we played throughout the remainder of winter break (and let’s be honest, played nightly since).
So this got me thinking and researching other fun classroom games that could be played/taught with an emphasis on math, here are the top 4 that I had never heard of but LOVED trying out:
I LOVE math, always have, and these games totally reinvigorated love of problem-solving, as I played these with my family, I began to see the benefits of incorporating these games into a classroom not only for the math benefits, but for classroom community building and for addressing some of the SEL standards as well and lets not forget for enjoyment too!
I WISH I was still in the classroom so I could try these games out with my students, I love learning new things and trying them out with my kiddos. So, with that said, guess what?!?! It’s game time at the ROE….the first 3 educators to respond to this post (or email me – firstname.lastname@example.org) with a name or video of an educational game you have implemented in your classroom will win a Amazon (Did I say Amazon)…I meant AMAZING gift!!
*Note* All three prizes have been claimed*
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning