Monday, 8 July 2013

Snakes + Ladders = Maths

We love a good game of Snakes and Ladders but when I look closely I see a great learning opportunity that is not only fun but engaging for different age groups. Snakes and Ladders is all about maths and the best part about this learning is that there are no worksheets or drills. It's all about play. 

We started playing Snakes and Ladders when our son was about five years old and it has been one of his most loved games. We have a very large  Snakes and Ladders floor mat game which is fantastic for my kinesthetic/tactile learner who likes to move and engage his whole body for learning.

Early Maths Concepts
Even at an young age, early maths concepts are being learnt while playing Snakes and Ladders. These early concepts include:
  • number recognition of one and two digit numbers
  • counting numbers on the dice and board game
  • developing an understanding of place value 
  • learning about number sequencing
  • practicing saying numbers
Counting the 'dots' on the dice, recognizing and saying the number, then counting/moving your token that number of space is learning. You can check out my blog post on Bottle Top Maths for more idea for learning early maths concepts.

We use two dice to focus on addition. We roll the dice and whatever number it lands on we then add the two numbers together (3+5=8) and move our token that many spaces forward. This is simple addition but the more you use addition, or in this case play with addition, the better recall you will have.  

You can use two dice to play doubles however we have just used one. We play doubles by rolling the dice and whatever number it lands on, we double that number. For example, we rolled the number five so we double five which gives us ten.We then move our token ten spaces forward.

Two Times Tables
After my post on Times Tables: Where to start? we have continued to explore different ways of learning the times tables that keep it fun and play-based. We have been able to use the game Snakes and Ladders to practice our two times tables...believe it or not! The same way we play 'DOUBLES' is the same process we use for the two times tables. We roll a dice and whatever number it lands on (3) we times it by two (3x2) then move that many spaces forward (6).   
Learning is fun so look through your board games and look for the learning that takes place.

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