Chess and STEM
The theme of the conference is Chess and STEM – exploring the ways in which chess relates to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Our 2014 conference, Chess and Mathematics, opened new grounds. This conference extends the scope to cover a vital group of related topics essential to lay the intellectual foundations for life and work in the 21st Century. The public associate chess with higher order thinking but do not always see the relevance to education. The conference seeks to set out the unique contributions that chess can make to developing children’s thinking skills.
The objective of the conference is to bring together all those involved in the use of chess for educational purposes, including representatives from the Education Commissions for FIDE and ECU in order to establish a co-operative working practice.
The specific aims are :
Science is a global activity combining knowledge of how the world works with the scientific method which involves critical thinking about evidence. In terms of educational theory, chess engages the hierarchy of thinking skills known as Bloom’s Taxonomy which describes the ideal learning process comprising questioning, hypothesising, predicting, analysing and deciding. These steps involve increasingly engaged thinking beginning with simple questions and relating to general principles. Chess is about problem-solving for which the formation of hypotheses is part of the process, culminating in the making of a move.
Schools seek ways to teach coding and algorithms. Chess provides a ready medium in which to experiment and practice these vital skills for future employability. Technology represents how our knowledge can be crystallised into products which serve mankind. Chess is in the forefront when it comes to the development of artificial intelligence. Chess provides a fertile domain for software developers through applications for learners and competitors. There is a strong affinity between the games mindset and the mindset required for computers.
Engineering is the practical application of science and technology to engines, machines and structures. We are all fascinated by machines which move without any human intervention. Society increasingly depends upon mechanisation to bring about greater economic efficiency. Robotics is a rapidly developing area of engineering and is amenable to learning at school requiring logic, mathematics and having a systematic approach.
Our conference on Chess and Mathematics in 2014 opened new ground leading to two Erasmus Plus projects and associated training courses. The link between chess and mathematics arises through the geometry of the board and the patterns created by the chess pieces. Fascinating questions can be set which students enjoy solving. The work has been extending into mathematical games, also known as abstract strategy games, which are playable on a chessboard. These games provide a diverse set of challenges to children at every level.
Attendees can expect to learn about the latest developments in the teaching of chess and games at school to support educational objectives. Experts from around the world will share best practice on the didactics and pedagogy of games. These valuable insights can be explored further during in-depth seminars and discussions. Some of the leading software and technology projects will be demonstrated. The networking opportunities will allow attendees to meet with new colleagues and develop collaborative projects.
The Conference is organised by ChessPlus Limited working in partnership with the core sponsors the International Chess Federation (FIDE), the European Chess Union (ECU) and Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC).