In our classroom, and in everyday life, math is all around us. Many people equate math with counting, numbers, and equations and although this is accurate information it can be expanded to include a variety of other activities as well. In the Pre-K room, we teach math most often through play. This includes anything from building with blocks, making patterns with beads, or playing in a simple game of checkers.
Checkers is a wonderful game that awakens a students ability to think critically, logically, and strategically. At first, the student needs a chance to play the basics of the game. This means only moving forward to a square that your piece is touching, what it means to “jump” someone, and how to become “Kinged”. After these basics are understood, the child begins to figure out how to position their pieces to be near their opponent’s, while also not setting up their own pieces for attack. Before you know it, the four year old is beating you 10-8 and the best response you can manage is to simply run away from their ambush.
Games like these give students the opportunity to use critical thinking and problem solving skills in real world instances. The more the child plays, the more their confidence grows. The best part is they end up having so much fun, they often don’t even realize they are learning!