Oct 3, 2014

WonderWorks: Short Path Games

Playing board games teaches so many math skills!  Try this simple variety to introduce the concepts of taking turns, moving your marker along a path and counting.

Today's Topic: Short Path Games
large size construction paper
game pieces (I provided pom-poms, small blocks and buttons, but pennies or even just shapes cut from heavy paper would work fine)
blank wooden cubes (to make a die)

cover art Mini racer / Dempsey, Kristy

(I love how the endpapers in the book could be a short path game all by themselves!)

 What Kids Do:  I showed them a simple Short Path Game board that I'd designed and demonstrated how to play the game.  My board had 3 rows of 10 spaces each and I had a die with only one's and two's on it.  I rolled the die for each car to see if they would advance one space or two, then continued play until one car reaches the finish line.
I encouraged kids to come up with their own variations and here's what they designed:

Then some designed their die:

And some just had fun using the die-cut machine that I'd brought in just in case:

This game designer finished his game, then flipped the page over to decorate the back with more stickers and drawings.
 The path may be difficult to discern sometimes, but check out those sorting skills!
 This game designer chose to make a great labyrinth-like Long Path Game.  Love it!

 This very young game designer's mother did such delightful drawings to accompany the Cat in the Hat stickers that I wanted to sit down and play her game myself!
 This game designer informed me that the dots on this track are racing.  And some are going fast and they're going to win and others are moving slowly.
A few families stayed to play their games together
 This participant chose to try out a short path game using the carpets as the path (well, okay, he wasn't actually using the dice so maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit.  But wouldn't that be fun?).

Adult Challenge of the week:  Ask open-ended questions!

Hindsight Tip:  As I explained this week's project, I realized that it was the least open-ended project I'd ever attempted with this age group.  Iwasn't sure what they'd do with it.  I was thrilled to see kids using their creativity to explore my game design idea with their own variations.  If you REALLY want to focus the class on PLAYING short path games, have a set created when they arrive rather than asking kids to create their own during class.

 Variations to try: 
This idea came from the wonderful blog, Math at Play. You can find full instructions and explanations there.

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