Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Upcycling An Old Classic

As I was organizing the upstairs a few weeks ago I came across a Rubbermaid container of childhood games that my parents handed down to me before my move to Texas. I dusted off the top and opened it up to find so many of my childhood favorites. They were mainly the classics; Monopoly, Scrabble, Battleship, Uno, Yatzee, Boggle, etc. Growing up we didn't have any electronic gaming systems so my sisters and I played a TON of board games. We had an entire closet in our basement just for the storage of all of our board games- serious business. While I was finding places on shelves to store the games I thought about how much fun we had as kids playing these games and how educational most of them actually are. We never knew we were "doing math" while playing Yatzee or "learning how to spell" during an intense game of Scrabble. 

So, as I looked down at Boggle I thought about how I could adapt it for my students. Of course, if I taught reading or writing it would be perfect just the way it is. So, I decided to swap out the letter dice for regular old number dice. Then, I sat there and stared at it for a while to decide how I actually wanted to use it, effectively. I work with 4th and 5th grade special education students who struggle with their facts and fluency and number sense in general. I decided to start with, "making 10" and the kids LOVE IT. I set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes, they grab a white board and expo, shake it up and go! The rules are simple: find numbers that are next to each other (cannot be diagonal) that when added up give you the sum of 10. Some highlighted examples are shown below:

Once the timer goes off they share with each other the combinations they found and where they were on the board. Similar to Scattegories, if they both had the same equation, neither gets the point and if they found a combination that is unique, they score a point.

My kids are having a blast finding combinations of 10 while working on our social skills of being a good winner/loser. Another reason I love this is because I can use it in a small group setting- it doesn't require a whole class to play. 

The versatility is endless. New ideas that the students and I have thought of are; Multiplication combinations that are divisible by: 2 or 3 or 5, etc. Sums of 5, Differences of 5, as many math facts you can find until the timer goes off. Do you have some other ideas of ways to use this? I'd love to hear them in the comment section below!


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