American Go E-Journal

Go and Math Workshop for Elementary School Teachers

Saturday February 25, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-02-25 at 5.51.13 PMThirteen teachers from the National College of Education in Chicago, IL, participated in a 90-minute go workshop on Jan 26. The teachers, and their professor Xue Han,  learned the basic rules of go, experienced a couple of games themselves, and reviewed case studies of students playing go in elementary classrooms.  “After the workshop, one teacher said that she had decided to bring go back to her classroom of more than twenty 3rd graders” reports Xinming Simon Guo, of Go and Math Academy in Chicago. Guo has been providing workshops at schools, conferences and educational institutes in the Chicago area since 2008. The primary audiences for the workshops are teachers, both in-service teachers who have been teaching in the classroom everyday, and pre-service teachers who will start teaching after they graduate from the university. These hands-on workshops are always centered on one topic — go and math. “If you don’t know go, how can you know the relationship between go and math?” ask Guo, “but if you know how to play you will naturally employ  fundamental math skills in the game. It’s just that you won’t necessarily detect that relationship while you’re totally absorbed in the pleasure and pressure of playing.”

According to Guo’s research 55 out of 94 Common Core Math Standards from Grades K to 3 are almost naturally connected to go. “Teachers design many classroom activities. Sometimes they have to design several activities to meet the requirement of only one standard. For one game to cover almost 60% of core standards in the early elementary math curriculum is impressive,” says Guo. “Meanwhile, students learn math without even noticing it. Acquisition of math happens naturally as you play go. That’s the beauty of game-based learning.  Most of these teachers don’t know go, so I introduce it as an educational game, which removes the pressure for competition. Once they start to play, they are able to experience the subtle ways fundamental math skills are at work, and identify many learning opportunities embedded in the game.” For further reading see Northwestern University Exploring Go and Math. (E-J 1/31/17 -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor.  Photo: Guo presenting at NCE in Chicago.

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