Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving

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Students learn chess rules and strategies through activities coded to the 32 pawns and pieces on a chessboard. The 16 pawn activities require no chess knowledge, 14 of the piece activities build on students' growing familiarity with chess, and the 2 king activities challenge budding chess experts. Within the chess activities, students practice national standards of scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving. Improved thinking in science, math, and chess are the winning results: Checkmate!

The introductory chapter discusses the scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving standards, explains the coding system for the chess activities, and details what materials should be purchased. Chapters 2 (scientific inquiry), 3 (mathematical problem solving), and 4 (inter-disciplinary) each contain 10-12 activities at different grade and chess levels. The book ends with an appendix of the rules of chess. It includes approximately 100 chess diagrams. Grading rubrics and check lists are offered with each activity to assist teachers in assessing student learning.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
". . . Dr. Root gives further encouragement, ideas, plans and support to the classroom teacher."


"Science, Math, Checkmate is a collection of 32 lesson plans designed to provide a practical link between chess instruction and national standards in elementary and middle school math and science instruction, with occasional forays into English and history. It is ground-breaking and valuable precisely because it accomplishes the critical important work described above: it sells chess by tying it to established educational standards."


Chess Life

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591585718
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

ALEXEY W. ROOT has a Ph.D. in education from UCLA. Her work history includes public high school teaching (social studies and English). Her most notable chess accomplishment was winning the U.S. Women's championship in 1989. Since the fall of 1999, Root has been a senior lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). She has taught UTD education classes, tutored prospective teachers for certification exams, and supervised student teachers. Root's current assignment for UTD is to teach, via the UT TeleCampus, online education courses that explore the uses of chess in classrooms. Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators (2006) and Science, Math, Checkmate: 32 Chess Activities for Inquiry and Problem Solving (2008) were both published by Teacher Ideas Press.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Max Warshauer Warshauer, Max Hiroko Warshauer Warshauer, Hiroko

Ch. 1 The Curriculum Game 1

Curriculum Moves 1

National Standards 2

Ideas and Inspiration 3

Chess Equipment and Chess

Curricula 6

Organization of Science, Math, Checkmate 9

Ch. 2 Scientific Inquiry 13

Connections to Science Standards 13

Physical Properties of Pieces 14

Pawn Game 16

3-on-3 21

20 Questions 22

Black Box 23

Computers and Checkmates 25

To e.p. or not to e.p. 26

Criteria Challenge 28

Chess Models 30

The Good Bishop 33

Stalemate Surprise 34

Ch. 3 Mathematical Problem Solving 37

Connections to Math Standards 37

Covering the Board: Rooks 38

Perimeter and Surface Area of the Board 42

Covering the Board: Kings 42

Eight Queens 45

Balancing Chess Equations 46

Pawns, Pieces, Proportions, and Probability 47

Practice Producing Polygons 51

Chess Players' Stats 55

Pick a Pocketful of Pieces 57

Mazes and Monsters 58

Working Backward 58

Transforming Figures 61

Ch. 4 Interdisciplinary 65

Content Connections 65

Learning Chess Pieces 66

Map My School on a Board 67

The Knights Can't Wait! 69

The King's Chessboard 71

How to Castle 72

Kasparov versus the World 74

Know More, Move More! 75

Move Order Mystery 76

Openings around the World 79

Ch. 5 Chess Basics 81

Rules of Chess 81

Win, Lose, or Draw 85

Reading and Writing Chess 87

Appendix A Chess Test 89

Appendix B Answer Key for Activities 95

Appendix C Review of Kasparov and Polgar Curricula 107

Glossary 111

References 121

Index 129

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