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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Grid Games in Preschool

In my goal to promote more "in action" math activities in my classroom, I have decided to increase four main types of activities in my classroom.  They are:

  1. Math Mats
  2. Math Grid, Line and Path Games
  3. Sorting/Classifying Activities
  4. Graphing

Today I'm going to talk about Grid, Line and Path Games.  In short, these are simple games that promote counting, one-to-one correspondence, identifying numbers, and counting concepts.  

Grid Games:

A grid game is a grid or array of objects on a paper that serves as a game board.

Materials Needed for Grid Games:
· A laminated game board for each student (Here are some examples of boards:)

Apple Grid Games

Bird Feeder Grid Game
  • A 1-3 spinner or die (a spinner that has the numbers 1, 2 and 3, or a die that has the numbers 1, 2 and 3. ) You can also use a 1-5 spinner or a 1-5 die depending on the needs of your students.
  • Coordinating cards or manipulatives for tokens (Good tokens can be any kind of erasers, counters, or small toys that go with the theme of the game.)  Here are a few examples of cards that can be used with the above grid games:

 · Basket to hold manipulatives

Instructions: To play the game, students roll the die or spin the spinner.  They then take the number of cards or other manipulatives that they rolled and put them on the grid.   As they do, you promote learning by talking about what they have done:

"Which apple has more worms?"
"How many worms do you need to put a worm on every apple?"
"This row of apples is almost filled up.  Look, you only have two more apples with  no worms."

Varying Game Levels:  A simple version of the game would be that students place one card or manipulative on each picture on the grid as they roll a certain number on the die or spinner.  When a player gets all of his pictures “filled” with one manipulative, they are done (or they win).

To make the game more complex, let players place their manipulatives/cards on the pictures as they wish (not necessarily one item per picture).  Allowing them to play this way will make the game more complex as players create, quantify, and compare sets of items as they put the them on the grid pictures.  It will also provide opportunity for them to sort the cards/manipulatives in different ways as they play.

Game difficulty can be also adjusted by changing type of die.  (You can use a die/spinner with either dots or numerals depending on the needs of your students.  You can also use die/spinner with more or less numbers, such as one with only numbers 1-3, or one with 1-5 on them.
Student can also use two dice together to encourage addition skills.

Line Games and Path Games:

Line and Path games are basically what you think of when you think of board games.  The students continue down a path as they roll dice or spin a spinner.  

Here are some examples of Line and Path Games:

With a line game like the one above, players start on the tree and use a die or spinner to advance down the line.  When they reach the basket, they get to collect an apple game token, and then can go across again.  This simple game is best for beginning counters.

With a continuous path game like the one above, the players begin on the "start"  space and use dice or a spinner to determine how many spaces they can move.  Every time they land on a basket, they get to collect an apple token (which are placed in a basket in the middle of the game board before the game begins).  

For more about Grid, Line and Path Games, I would recommend the following book:

More Than Counting: Whole-Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Whole-Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus.

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