Thursday, May 17, 2012

Let's Play Checkers!

But First - Let's Make a Checker Set!

This is one of those projects I've had in the back of my mind just waiting to fit it in a good place. I had a fun...but super social...5th grade class at one of my buildings that I knew would enjoy the challenge and fun of making a checker set. So we spent the majority of 4th quarter working on it.

  • Students spent some time brainstorming and planning what their pieces would look like. They sketched out the designs and discussed color choices. 
  • Two class periods were spent creating the clay pieces. I gave each student a paper with a 1 1/2 inch square drawn on it so they knew what size to make the pieces.
  • While the clay pieces were drying and being bisque fired, students went to work on marking out and painting their boards. I cut white tagboard to 12 inch square. We had a lesson on how to use the ruler to mark off 1 1/2 inch sections and join the lines. I was pleased that this class picked up on this pretty well for not having past experience with it. The classroom teacher and principal happened stopped in at the end of one class and remarked about how great the boards looked. My principal assumed that I had given each student a pre-marked template for the board. With the students in line at the door I proudly announced "No - they did these all by themselves!"
  • Two more classes were spent glazing the clay pieces and finishing up on painting the boards. When the boards were dry, I laminated them so they would be more durable
  • The came Play Day! The last art class of the year was spent playing. Students took turns using their boards and pieces and fun was had by all! It was the perfect way to send off these students(that I had taught since Kindergarten) to the Jr. High. 


  1. Another amazing project! You have such great ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is a fabulous idea! The ceramics teacher in the high school I had done my student teaching at does an advanced chess/checker board with the advanced ceramics students. This is a great way to do it at a lower lever with elementary kids or even 6th grade. fantastic!

    1. Thanks Jenna. It was a great end of year project. The last art class of the year was spent playing with our sets and everyone had a blast. I will definitely do this one again.

  3. What an excellent project - I would LOVE to be able to do an on-going project along these lines!! (But sadly I can't, sigh) The kids have done a marvelous job and have created functional, fun art that they will have forever! I will be following your wonderful blog now with great interest :)