The AGF Lesson Plan Cooperative
We want you to use the game of Go not only as an enjoyable, healthy, positive classroom enrichment activity, but as a means to present core curriculum content effectively to students with a variety of learning styles. Students who are attracted to Go may become more interested in related topic areas, and may find them easier to understand. This page is a compendium of lesson plans used by classroom teachers in our programs.
Send Us Your Lesson Plans!
Are you a classroom teacher? Do you have a lesson plan you have used effectively to teach one of the content areas listed below? Send it in! We'll add good plans to the list; check back often to see other new plans that may have been added recently.
Don't see the plan you're looking for? Create it! We also offer links to related materials and resources so that you can develop your own original plans -- and when you do, please send them in! Please submit your plan as a Word document or pdf in the following format:
Objective: State the goal, what exactly will students learn in this lesson.
Materials: Describe the materials needed for the lesson, if handouts are part of the lesson, please attach them to the plan.
Procedures: Describe the activities that will take place during the lesson.
Measurement: Explain how to measure students' learning. Quizzes would be one example.
- Play Go And Grow! by Roy Laird, Ph.D. Certain games are well known to promote positive cognitive and personal development. The ancient Asian game of Go offers students a high interest activity with a low learning curve that can be linked to standards based curricula in ways that enhance learning. Certain unique features of the game make it unsurpassed as a medium for positive growth.
- The STEM Education Coalition works with the U. S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other agencies to promulgate an integrated curriculum teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Teacher and go renthusiast Georgette Yakman noted that one important curriculum area is missing -- the arts! Thinking of Go as an art form, she created STE@M, a curriculum incorporating material relating Go to the four STEM branches.
Click here to read her essay on the subject.
- The Master Of Go by Nobel prizewinning Japanese author Yasunari Kawabata tells the story of the end of an era, as the torch is passed to a new generation. It is considered his finest work.
- Hikaru no Go is a Japanese manga (also available in anime format) that follows the classic " hero's journey " format. An irresponsible youth releases the the spirit of an ancient Go player, Aladdin-style, from a haunted Go board, and learns lessons in life and go.
- Many famous pieces of Asian art depict Go , often depicting characters of legend in dramatic ways .
- Go illustrates the Asian concept of yin/yang in physical space. Consider a row of stones that surrounds territory. The closer togeter, the more solid and immune to attack; the farther apart, the more area they can capture or influence. The wise player always seeks balance between aggression and defense, territory and influence; a famous Go proverbs says, "Rich men shouldn't fight." Verhaar (1967) describes it this way: "Something and Nothing give brith to each other, Long and Short offset each other, High and Low determine each other, Front and Back give a sequence to each other. . . . We turn clay to make a vessel; just where the clay is absent is he use of the vessel. We erect walls, chisel out doors and windows to make a hgouse; just where they are absent is in their use." Go players use stones to surround territory; just where the stones are absent is their use. The players whose stone influence, while not occupying, the most space will win the game.
- In The Protracted Game, Harvard scholar Scott Boorman shows how Mao Tse-tung applied Go-based strategic principles to prevail in the Chinese civil war.
Go contains many elements that fascinate the mathematical mind.
- Multiplication: At the end of a game, players reorganize the board in rectangular shapes, to simplify counting. Students use their times tables at the end of every game, to determine who won.
- Plotting: Using a kifu (game record paper), students can practive their graph plotting skills. Download a printable kifu paper here . Ask students to record a game, then transfer their game to standard chess notation , e,g, "1: D4" etc.
- Some historians believe that the Go board, with ten intersections outward from the center in every direction, may have served as an ancient abacus.
- How many games are possible? Ask students to figure out how to estimate the total number of possible games of Go. ( Estimated to be 171 to the 19th power, compared to 50 to the 10th power for chess.)
- The handicap system offers statisticians unusually robust data with which to calculate players' relative strengths.
Of special note is the work of Elwyn Berlekamp, a brilliant mathematician who is the only member of the UC Berkeley math faculty who does not hold a math degree. Dr. Berlekamp is especially interested in measuring the exact value of moves, and to this end he has devised "Coupon Go" in which each player has access to a stack of coupons of gradually declining value. Each turn, players decide whether to play a move on the board, or take a coupon and thereby add the value of the coupon to the final score. Dr. Berlekamp described this variant and offered other fascinating insights into the game in a taped lecture that is available in three parts on YouTube, as well as a three-part Q&A with the audience:
Click here to view Part I
Click here to view Part II
Click here to view Part III
Click here to view Part I of the Q&A
Click here to view Part II of the Q&A
Click here to view Part III of the Q&A