Saturday, February 11, 2012

Scrabble Math

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:

Scrabble – Part 1 (Math)

Scrabble is one of my favorite games for literacy skills, but have you ever used it for math?  Next week, we’ll talk about all the fun literacy topics to be covered with Scrabble, but this week, let’s think outside the box and talk about how to use Scrabble to teach and review math skills!

1. Add up the Vocabulary Word – This activity could actually cover spelling or vocabulary words AND math (got to love when cross curricular connections make themselves for you!)  You will need to make cards ahead of time with your vocabulary words on them.  Have each student pull a card from the stack, and then find the letter tiles that match the letters in the word.  Then, each student should write down the numbers on each Scrabble tile and add them up.  This is a great reinforcement for addition facts, and also works well for adding in a column, or finding groupings (ie. 3 + 1 + 2 + 4 is easier to add when you make 2 groups of five (3 + 2) (2+4) ) 

2. Word Family Comparing Numbers – Which word earns more points in Scrabble: bat or rat?  Give students the tiles for 2 words of the same length, allow them to add up the score and compare the number.  Which word is worth more?  This is a great way to talk about strategy as well, which is just another form of problem solving!

3.  Probability – Are you teaching probability?  Use Scrabble letters to figure out the probability of drawing a S tile or drawing a Q tile.  For example: of 100 scrabble tiles, there is usually only 1 Q tile in the bag, so you have a 1 in 100 chance of drawing a Q from the bag.

4.  Longest Word – Increase those critical thinking skills by having students come up with the longest word they can, but add an extra challenge and say they can only have 10 points (or 15 points – depending on your class).  Look for those creative answers to start coming!

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Scrabble in a new, interesting way in your classrooms.  Do you want other game suggestions for your classroom?  Click HERE for more Friday Game Night Suggestions.  Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!