That Time We Used Cornhole to Teach Math and Executive Function Skills

  • Math
Amy Dempster


At Carroll, our teachers pull out all the stops to engage students in learning like ... that time Mrs. Lattimer used cornhole to teach 5th graders math and executive function skills.

For those that don't know, cornhole is a game in which small bean bags are tossed at an inclined wooden platform with a hole in one end and is typically played as a tournament. As a way to help her students solve real-world math problems, Mrs. Lattimer decided to have her students build cornhole platforms. Along the way, the kids gained executive function skills as they planned, executed, and presented their project.

Math Learning Objectives (from MA Common Core Standards)

  • Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real-world and mathematical problems
  • Measure angles in whole-number degrees using a compass. Sketch angles of specified measure.
  • Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area and volume
  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the measurements of a circle

Cornhole Project Steps

1. First, the students made a plan using the Get Ready, Do, Done process - developed by Cognitive Connections as a way to help children build executive function skills. Starting with the "Done" step, the students sketched what the finished product would look like. Then, they outlined the tasks it would take to complete the project (the "do"). Finally, they listed what they needed to "get ready" - the materials and tools to build their cornhole platform.

Cornhole Process - Get Ready, Do, Done

2. Next, the students dove into math - measuring and planning the shape, size and angle of the cornhole platform, its legs, and the circle hole. Mrs. Lattimer introduced the students to compasses and demonstrated how to use the radius to draw a hole that needed to be 6" in diameter.

Cornhole Math Measurements

3. Before building, the class mapped out the steps and tasks needed to do each day based on the five days planned for the project. This helped the students stay organized and on task over the duration of the project.

Cornhole Steps and Tasks

4. With a plan in place, the students got busy building, painting, sewing bean bags, and preparing their final presentation of their cornhole project. Lots of decisions were discussed, debated and made as the 5th graders worked together.

Making Cornhole Beanbags

5. Finally, they presented their project to some of our 4th graders and had fun playing their own cornhole game!

 

  • Curriculum
  • Math
  • Project-Based Learning



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