I have played chess since the age of seven, and have had countless years competing at the professional level, as well as coaching. I graduated in Physical Education, in 2010, and I have an international title in Chess (FIDE Master). I had the opportunity to teach students from different countries and all levels, in Academies, Chess Clubs, regular classrooms, which has given me the experience to work with kids and parents with different approaches and interest about chess.
Working in a Kindergarten class as a bilingual instructor has been a fantastic experience, and as a chess master it is evident that I tried to teach them chess too. The idea of using chess to teach mathematics came to me one day when I was participating in a math curriculum training. Knowing that the chess pieces have a numerical value, I thought that it was possible to create math exercises that involve the chess pieces (representing the numbers). Then, I started a conscientious study of the Common Core Mathematical Standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and I found the pedagogical foundation of the idea in the 2nd Standard for Mathematical Practice: "Thinking Abstractly and Quantitatively." The standard states that students need to think abstractly for a given situation, represent it symbolically, and manipulate the representing symbols as if they have a life of their own. Then I realized that the chess pieces could be the abstract representation of the numbers and the symbols that students can manipulate during the activities. From there, I started the design of math exercises with the chess pieces instead of numbers, and with a bit of surprise, the students understood the idea pretty quickly and even showed enthusiasm in seeing more activities. They fell in love with the chess pieces. So, I decided to continue testing the concept and wrote a book for Kindergarteners and 1st graders.
But designing a textbook and getting it ready for high-quality printing was more difficult than I thought. Designing/Writing a book (especially with artwork included) is a whole new world and an incredible experience. I thank God for putting the right people that guide me in all this process.
Now, after hours and hours or work, study, consulting and teaching, the kindergarten book is ready in English & Spanish. With more than 200 colorful pages, seven chapters with activities that cover all the Standards of Common Core.
Still a long journey, but with your support, dear reader, I am planning to design the books until 5th grade.
Thank you for choosing Chess 4 Math.
FM Ramón Miguel Lorente Pupo.