Why Chess Maths?
Chess embodies every aspect of Winters Flat’s SPACE Concept in the broadest sense. SPACE stands for Social, Physical, Academic, Creative and Emotional.
SOCIAL: Chess builds inter-personal skills through game playing and encouraging
PHYSICAL: Chess involves controlling oneself physically particularly impulsiveness for
extended periods of time.
ACADEMIC: Chess involves a whole range of cognitive skills including analysis, planning,
forward thinking, memory and a knowledge of history.
CREATIVE: Chess involves imagination, thinking creatively, and the ability to find the
best move under pressure.
EMOTIONAL: The program focuses on resilience building through a mind sport.
It involves a comprehensive tournament structure which engages students in a ‘battle of ideas’ over the board. Students compete with other schools state wide.
They learn to deal with set backs and set personal goals. Students learn to reflect on their behavior and develop more self control. The school chess team’s motto is ‘Win with grace and lose with dignity’.
Chess & Mathematics
If we reduce mathematics to algorithms, numbers and equations in the classroom we are falling far behind global best practice in mathematics. Mathematics is more than equations and numbers. Mathematics is pattern recognition and analysis of patterns.
Chess is a game of prediction, calculation and pattern recognition. Predicting consequences and pattern recognition are key elements of mathematics and chess.
Winters Flat has developed a mathematics based chess program where the mathematical concepts embedded in the game of chess are used to teach maths and facilitate student’s development.
Winters Flat builds numeracy and mathematical thinking into its class tournament structures which involves using regrouping, simplification by cancellation, addition, subtraction, embryonic algebra, measurement and area, and geometric problem solving. Chess notation and problem solving involves using the co-ordinate plane which is used in map reading, geography and graphs.
The Winters Flat maths department is further developing its chess-maths program by designing lessons which use more advanced mathematics.
At Winters Flat we have made chess one of the five Maths lessons per week for children in Grades Two to Six. Chess is not an add-on, but is a dedicated part of the school's Maths curriculum. We have been fortunate to be able to employ a chess tutor to team teach with the classroom teachers on a weekly basis. The chess tutor prepares the weekly chess lessons and both classroom teacher and tutor conduct the lessons. An assessment rubric developed by the teachers and chess tutor is used to monitor children's progress.
What is unique about our program, apart from chess being a dedicated part of the Maths curriculum, is that it combines a competitive tournament structure, with a "well being" program, to develop emotional intelligence.
Chess Squared Program and Emotional Intelligence
The Chess Squared Program is designed to use chess in mathematics as a potential means of engendering greater: resilience, persistence, impulse control, strategic thinking, problem solving and general willingness to undertake challenging tasks while working mathematically.
The program is designed to build greater resilience in students through a comprehensive tournament structure that develops their confidence and willingness to solve challenging problems under pressure of competition. The program has impacted on a wide range of students with different demographic and learning profiles.
School Tournament Outcomes
Winters Flat has been very successful winning a place in the State Chess Finals in 2009 and 2010. The school has produced a number of outstanding players who have enjoyed success.
Our school chess teams competed in the Mt Alexander Chess tournament on Monday 12th September, 2016. By all accounts it was a fantastic event and Winters Flat proudly walked away with the winner’s trophy.
A huge thank you to Harry Poulton, who volunteers his time to tutor our chess players. We really appreciate all the hard work he puts in.
University Research Program
The school Chess program is part of a Master research project designed to study a number of key issues including; mathematical thinking, self-efficacy, resilience and achievement, and how to initiate improvement in these areas.
Benefits to Students
Winters Flat is always looking for innovative ways to improve student motivation and engagement. Many students have excelled in the chess program. The school has developed lesson plans which link chess within a numeracy framework, providing a fun way to do maths. The school program aims to generate an appreciation of chess as a mind sport and provide links to well-being and engagement that create a positive schooling experience for students, and therefore make schooling more relevant and engaging.
NAB Chess Cup
The NAB Chess Cup, played at the NAB Bank academy on Thursday 10th March 2011, was a brilliant day
out. We took a bus from Winters Flat Primary School, with 55 people plus on board, to the NAB Bank headquarters at Docklands. We departed at 8.00am and we arrived home at 4.00 pm.
The atmosphere at the NAB Bank Tournament was electric. The NAB bank had 120 staff attending as players and spectators. Their attendance was voluntary. The Schools First staff was amazed at the NAB turn out. There was a certain respect for our chess students. The financial gurus were dazzled by Winters Flat Primary School and surrounding schools’ chess acumen. They approached their young spirited opponents with trepidation.
Our chess students were gracious in victory and dignified in defeat. The NAB bank staff was generous, warm and encouraging, and clearly enjoyed the atmosphere of challenging mind sports and intellectual endeavour. They saw the value of developing strategic thinking and planning skills and wished they had had a program like this when they were kids. When asked by the ‘Schools First’ conveners about their experience of Mathematics at school, the NAB Bank financial gurus surprisingly expressed the same feelings of anxiety and disaffection that we find across the board in most schools today. Many expressed the wish that they had been given an innovative program like the Winters Flat Primary School and Mt Alexander Chess Squared Program, when they were young students.
The financial gurus expressed admiration at how engaged, focused, concentrated and motivated our chess students were. It was a universal consensus that students were amazingly engaged, intellectually focused and highly concentrated. These are skills and aptitudes many teachers feel are in decline in our schools.
Winters Flat Primary School won the tournament 80 wins to 21.5. It was a resounding victory. All in all, it was a brilliant, inspiring, interesting day and a wonderful success for the schools and the NAB bank.