I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:
Yahtzee – Part 1
One of my favorite games growing up was Yahtzee, and I was super excited when my oldest son was old enough to learn how to play it! It can be such an educational game, and so, I thought it was the perfect game to feature as my second board game for Game Night Fridays! (The first game was Chutes and Ladders, click here if you missed it!) Here are four ways to use Yahtzee to teach math skills. Check back next Friday to see my four ideas for how to use Yahtzee to teach literacy skills.
1. Standard Play – Yahtzee has so much math built into it, that simply playing the game with your class will work on math skills. Not only can you work on strategy, problem solving and decision making, but you can work on addition, multiplication, comparing numbers and probability all simply playing Yahtzee by the rules provided in the game.
2. Dice Graphing – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the upper section of the game card. Have each player role just one time and mark how many of each die they roll. Then, create a graph with the ready made table that the score card provides you.
3. Best Set – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind and Yahtzee sections. Encourage students to try to get a 3 of a kind with a different number than their classmates. After everyone has one 3 of a kind, one 4 of a kind and one Yahtzee, compare scores. Discuss the fact that using 4 sixes gives you a much better score than using 4 ones. Great time to compare addition and multiplication too!
4. Straight to Order – Rather than play with the whole score card, play simply with the small straight and the large straight. Talk about the different ways to make a small straight. Talk about ordering numbers and using the ordinal names of numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)
I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Yahtzee in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!