Lesson 24.5: Real World Connection

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All the Right Moves

Imagine having time for a game of chess in between your math and social studies lessons. It's not as surprising as you would think. Chess is catching on in elementary schools across the country.

Students at Sky Oaks Elementary School in Burnsville, Minnesota, learn chess as part of the curriculum. Principal Patrick Flinn says that Sky Oaks has been teaching chess to their students for more than 15 years. “It's fun to play,” said Alex Powell, a fourth-grade student at Sky Oaks.

Exercise for the Brain

Chess is a game of skill between two players. The object of the game is to checkmate, or trap, the other player's king. Studies show that playing chess sharpens critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. “It helps kids with their schoolwork,” said Alex's teacher, Ray Nyberg. “To play chess, they have to think and be analytical.”

A Popular Game

Chess has become more and more popular with young people of all ages. Over 41,000 students under age 14 are members of the United States Chess Federation. Many also participate in the game through after-school clubs offered and community organizations.

Word Wise

chess:
Board game played with 32 game pieces, 16 black and 16 white: Samantha and John played a game of chess.

curriculum:
All the subjects that are taught in school: Math is my favorite part of the fourth-grade curriculum.

analytical:
Using logic: Sara's analytical way of doing jigsaw puzzles helps her see how to fit the pieces together.

participate:
Join other people in doing something: My family participated in our town's recycling drive.

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Activity

Each of the words “curriculum,” “analytical,” and “participate” has a short i sound spelled with the letter i. The word “analytical” also has a short i sound, but it is spelled with the letter y.

Say each of these words to yourself.

  • mystery
  • symbol
  • candy
  • bicycle
  • hurry
  • symmetry

1. In which of these words does a y have the short i sound?
2. In which of the words does a y have the long e sound?

Data Hunt

Chess players use coordinates to track their movements. You can use coordinate geometry to play another type of game. You need a partner to play this game. You will also need 2 pieces of graph paper, a pencil, and some colored markers.

Use the graph paper to draw and label a coordinate grid. The grid should be 10 squares high and 10 squares wide.

Draw a simple shape on your grid in pencil. Mark a few points of the shape on the grid with colored marker. Below the grid, write down the ordered pair for each point. Be sure to write them in order, so that your partner can draw the figure.

Use the second piece of graph paper to make another 10- by 10-square grid. Do not mark the points on this grid. Give this grid to a partner.

Without showing or describing the figure, give your partner coordinates so that he or she can draw the same figure. Here's an example of some directions you might use:

Start at (3, 2).
Draw a line from (3, 2) to (4, 2).
Then draw a line from (4, 2) to (5, 3).

After you have finished giving directions, check your partner's work. Did your partner draw the right picture? Where did he or she go wrong?