Strategic games can have lots of classroom benefits. Learn how to use LogiqBoard to facilitate this with chess tutor, Hari Neocleous.

LogiqBoard is an interactive, shareable chessboard – or rather an 8×8 board. This multi-purpose board was created by Rita Atkins and Marton Pallagi and was originally designed for online chess courses but quickly developed into a multi-purpose learning platform.

In the classroom, you can use it as a demo board and have students sitting side by side sharing the screen as they play at their desks on real 8×8 boards with chess pieces/counters. This is great for maths puzzles and investigations where it’s all about collaboration and discussion of ideas. Teachers can also create ‘breakout rooms’ where children are put into pairs/small groups to play.

I love how user-friendly LogiqBoard is – there are support videos to show you all the features. Its unique design is easy to navigate and has fun icons including cute animals, fairy-tale characters and maths symbols. It’s accessible for all ages and (bonus!) there is no chat feature, so children can focus on the task at hand!

Of course, LogiqBoard isn’t just for schools – you can play games with your friends and family too. Choose a game, copy and paste the link into a message, send to a friend, and you’re ready to play!

Games-based learning

Before I dive into how you can use LogiqBoard for strategic games in your classroom, first I need to share the practicalities of how I teach them.

Once a week, I have the pleasure of teaching chess and strategy games within the school day. In another school, I run a strategic games after-school club. In my midweek school, I squeeze in a half an hour chess club with bitesize teaching so there’s enough time to play.

In my previous school, I taught maths most days as an intervention teacher. I also taught maths booster lessons during afternoons, assemblies, holidays and ran a lunch club. Chess and maths games motivated my students and developed their self-esteem. They developed a can do attitude and wanted to do better. Strategic games are not a replacement for maths lessons but can be a great addition to them. They can also take place outside of the daily maths lesson.

We don’t just play – lessons have a hook, some history, or a fun fact. Then come the rules, moves and game
information. I do a demo before I give children their first go at exploring it. All ideas are valued. Children also teach each other. 50% teaching and 50% play is key. Then when we play again, we focus on strategy. This is where the buzz in the room happens.

‘Flow theory’ describes the intense focus children have during game-based learning where they’re motivated and trying to problem-solve. They’re often vocal about this, the “aha!” or “eureka!” moment where they feel their brain at work and they’ve made a discovery.

Critical thinking in action. Children hypothesise in pairs and as a class. Hearing statements that begin with, ‘I agree/disagree with… because…’ or ‘I found that if you…’, happen organically is wonderful.

7  ways to use (and fall in love with) LogiqBoard

1. Play a variety of strategic games

I’ve made this No.1 because the huge bank of strategy games makes LogiqBoard unique. Choose from a list of fun games including ‘Fox and Hounds,’ ‘Cats and Dogs’, ‘Connect4’ and more. Rules are on the side of the board; all you need is a partner!

2. Take part in chess

LogiqBoard is great for playing chess. You can create colourful chess pieces, choose upside-down pieces or change the traditional design to funky-looking pieces. You can model game play live, use arrows and ticks and crosses, and highlight squares. For example, when I teach my ‘Checkmate lesson’ we highlight safe squares for the King in green and squares where he would be in check (under attack) in red.

3. Enjoy chess mini games

I use chess mini games most weeks. You can choose from the ‘Pawns game’, ‘Disco Duel’ and many more. These are great, as we focus on one piece at a time, mastering moves and making learning secure. There are also other chess variants like ‘Losers Chess.’ Here, the aim of the game is to be the first player to lose all their pieces. I love watching children play this for the first time, they giggle away as they realise that they have to reverse their thinking.

Read my last article, ‘Get your chess on’, to learn more about teaching chess through mini games.

4. Complete logic puzzles

LogiqBoard has a bank of puzzles in the ‘Introductory Exercises’ section. These are great for developing shape and spaces skills, logic and reasoning. There are different levels to choose from with solutions too. Suitable for older primary students, secondary students and adults.

5. Explore maths investigations

If you’re passionate about rich maths investigations, then I recommend using the LogiqBoard to explore one of the amazing 50 Chess and Mathematics Exercises from ChessPlus. My favourites include ‘Fallen Pieces’, ‘Chess Arithmetic’, ‘How many Squares?’ and ‘Tiling the Board’. I adapt these to suit my children, e.g., ‘Tiling the board’ asks the big question: how many ways can you divide a chessboard into 16 squares?

In my primary school version, Squirrel is having a birthday party for sixteen, including herself. She is dividing her cake into 16 pieces. Children explore how many solutions they can find. This is a ‘Low floor, high ceiling task’ – accessible to all, some will be challenged further but all can achieve. We explore what a square is and isn’t. We discuss the criteria, (e.g., squares can be different sizes). We think about ways to record and if rotated boards are acceptable solutions. ‘Being systematic’, ‘exploring solutions’, ‘area’ and ‘square numbers’ are the words and phrases of the day.

6. Create board, worksheets and games

If you create an account, you can create your own board positions and worksheets and save them in your own library. I often create board puzzles where children must find the winning move or wrong move. They’re visualising moves, planning ahead and exploring. LogiqBoard also has chess puzzles on their website. If you’re a chess coach, you can recreate famous games or single positions by copying and pasting them with notations or loading .PNG files.

7. Have fun connecting

My final and favourite reason to use Logiqboard is that it’s fun! I love competitive play, connecting with others, smiling, laughing, and enjoying the moment. Watching children do the same is amazing.

Plan or play?

I hope I’ve piqued your curiosity, as I’m excited to share this amazing teaching tool. Not only because I love strategic games but because I believe in the vision behind LogiqBoard. Rita Atkins is a Woman International Master of chess, trained Maths and Physics Teacher and Chess Coach. She is currently working as Secretary of Fide Chess in Education Commission. Her vision is to bring the 4 Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity) into every classroom worldwide through chess instruction.

Game-based learning motivates students, but it’s important to make sure you play the games beforehand and follow the sequence of the lesson yourself. This way, you know precisely how and where children are problem-solving.

I hope I’ve inspired you to try out LogiqBoard. Visit their website, play some games and look out for me in the  LogiqBoard teacher blog.

Happy gaming!

Author

  • Hari Neocleous

    Hari is a primary maths SEN teacher who has over twenty years of experience teaching in London schools. Hari is also a primary school chess teacher, ‘Curious Maths’ teacher and LogiqBoard teacher. She is the maths column writer for Cherubs Family Magazine.
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