Local teacher using Chutes and Ladders board game to teach algebra

Local teacher using Chutes and Ladders board game to teach algebra

Throughout February and March, WEAR along with Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, are "Paying it Forward" to education.

This week, we introduce you to a teacher using a timeless game to teach a lesson.

Remember algebraic linear equations? They definitely weren't the easiest to learn.

Sims Middle School math teacher Gretchen McClain found a way to make learning them fun! She's using the concept of the board game "Chutes and Ladders" to teach linear equation concepts.

McClain said, "You move your spinner, you move the amount of spaces you get. There are ladders that go up, and slides that go down."

Yup, that sounds like the game we all grew up playing!

She said that concept is the same as solving a linear equation and a standard that student need to grasp to pass state testing.

"If they can understand where it begins, then the only number left is how it moves. If we can streamline that part of the equation, all that's left is to move from there," she said.

She got the idea one day when her mother-in-law was playing with her 4-year-old son.

"I kept hearing her say you start here and you move there. Hearing those words over and over sounded like one of my lessons and I was like I can incorporate that in my classroom," she said.

Most of the game is the same, but Mcclain added a math element.

"I took one of the pieces off the spinner and replaced it with a math card. Every card has an equation. Kids must understand the equation, know what the numbers mean and be able to follow instructions with the board game."

She's able to take do this thanks to Hill-Kelly Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and their gift of $500 dollars to "Pay it Forward" for education.

Mcclain says she wouldn't have been able to do it without it.

"Very quickly one brilliant idea turns into this costly supply list and the money is not always there," she said.

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