Students at McCormick Elementary, in Chicago, IL, had the opportunity recently to learn to play go from Xinming Simon Guo 2d, a licensed math teacher and founder of the GoAndMath Academy. “Students were playing a simple game during the class, blissfully unaware that they were also working on math skills as they put every stone on the board and counted the result at the end of the game,” Guo told the E-Journal.
At McCormick, the go class is part of the Chinese Artists-In-Residency Program, co-sponsored by Confucius Institute in Chicago (CIC) and GoAndMath Academy. The Chinese language teachers at McCormick — where 99.5% of the students are hispanic and 50% are English Language Learners – Ms. Yeh and Ms. Huang, heard about the go program during the professional workshop organized by CIC last year. “Go is an ideal tool to achieve the goal of our Chinese curriculum–to enhance students’ understanding of Chinese culture, and reinforce their learning of language skills,” says Guo. “During the entire 2013-2014 school year, the go program offered more than 130 learning sections to more than 4500 students in Chicago public schools,” said Jane Lu, the director of CIC and coordinator of CPS Chinese World Language Program.
“Go is not just a simple game,” says Guo. “Research by GoAndMath Academy reveals that there exists a hidden natural connection between math and go. Students can experience math concepts without even noticing them. More specifically, go helps students develop number sense, and three domains in Common Core standards: Counting and Cardinality; Operations and Algebraic Thinking; and Number and Operations in Base Ten. GoAndMath Academy designed the educational go program, which is appropriate for Pre-K through eighth grade, is aligned with the common core standards, and can be played with peers in school or around the world. This fantastic game combines math, science, art, and competition, as well as ancient oriental philosophy and culture. Go requires the highest level of critical thinking. It cultivates the abilities of observing, reflecting, imagining, reasoning, innovating, and decision-making,” says Guo.
- Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Photo: Guo demonstrates the secrets of holding the go stone.