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Monday, June 1, 2015

Teaching Core Subjects with The Game of Life



Growing up, I absolutely loved playing The Game of Life from Milton Bradley. Recently, I introduced my children to my all-time favorite board game from my childhood. As we were playing, for about the 34th time (ok, slight exaggeration but not far off), I noticed that my youngest was learning a lot about things like how to make change and so on.



Math - Number recognition and counting by spinning the wheel and moving your car the correct number of spaces, making change, dealing with numbers in the Thousands, figuring out probabilities with the Stock Market cards, Learning about Taxes and Salaries, addition and subtraction of money and spaces moved, buying, spending, and borrowing skills complete with interest rates.

CHALLENGE: TAKE TURNS BEING THE BANKER, OR START WITH A DIFFERENT AMOUNT OF MONEY THAN THE RULES SUGGEST!

English - Reading and reacting to the words on each space you land on and following instructions.  Reading the cards.

CHALLENGE:  PLAY A ROUND OF LIFE AND THEN WRITE A STORY ABOUT WHO YOU WERE, WHAT YOU DID FOR A LIVING, HOW MUCH MONEY YOU EARNED, WHAT KIND OF HOUSE YOU BOUGHT, ETC. OR ROLE PLAY IT AS A SHORT SKIT.

Science - There is probably not a whole lot of science involved in the Game of Life unless you really want to go down the road of explaining how babies are actually added to a family. Though, there are a few career cards that pop up science-related careers which you could discuss and even spur on a unit study surrounded by lessons you need to learn, course of study, to attain that career.

CHALLENGE:  PICK A SCIENCE CAREER CARD AND RESEARCH ABOUT WHAT COURSE OF STUDY IS NEEDED TO GET HIRED IN THAT LINE OF WORK. IS YOUR CHILD REALLY INTERESTED IN THIS SCIENCE CAREER? ADD THE NEEDED SUBJECTS TO HIS OR HER COURSE OF STUDY, OR HEAD TO THE LIBRARY TO FIND BOOKS TO LEARN MORE.

History/Social Studies/Cultural Studies - It's a wonderful game to introduce cultural studies, to talk about various career and college choices, to discuss a variety of family dynamics, adoption, like skills and planning. Take it one step beyond by talking about or even making plans to actually do, in real life, the LIFE squares you land on, such as helping the homeless or coming with you when you vote.

CHALLENGE: ROLE PLAY THE CAREER CARD YOU HAVE BEEN HANDED.

How do you play the Game of Life? I'd love to hear how you use board games to enhance core-subject learning.

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