Thursday, 17 October 2013

Cribbage in the Class

I am lucky enough to have a lot of freedom with the students that I teach.  I teach a group of gifted students all day long.  I am supposed to try to challenge the students in a variety of ways.  Students bring in laptops, tablets and Ipods and they try to stay connected to them all day long.  My partner and I decided that we want our students to learn about things that are not necessarily technology based.  We have started with gaming in the class.  Our original goal was to have the kids learn a game and make them communicate with each other.  We started by asking how many students knew how to play the game.  Out of the 53 students we teach, we had 2 students who even heard of it before.  In our mind , it is a good start because when teaching gifted students it is often hard to find things that they have not investigated.  I quickly put together an research investigation so that they could begin to learn terminology, rules and strategy.  The students started with a bit of a groan!  I also went out and started buying crib boards so that we had enough for the students.  I found a dollar store that sold them for $5 and bought enough for the class to play partner cribbage.  Decks of cards from the local casino also helped keep the cost down as well.  Once the students understood the basic rules and I had some boards, it was time to play.  Observing became quite interesting in the class once they started.  Here is what I noticed:

My students who were great at math tests had trouble mentally adding up to 15 and 31.  They were using fingers or counting out loud to try to get to the desired number.  (It was interesting because many of my students compete in math contests and rank quite high in the country).

Very few students have basic knowledge of cards.  How to deal, how to shuffle, what the suits are or even what the J, Q, K stand for.  They play online cards and everything is done for them. 

Flushes and straights were new vocabulary for many students.

Counting hands and cribs took them a long time.  All students were afraid to have points stolen from them so they would count and recount hands which slowed down the games.  The mental math was a lot weaker than I expected. 

Basic strategy was difficult for them.  Many would place a 5 down to start and set up others for pegging points.  It wasn't until I started playing against them and would peg 10 points per hand on them that they realized how important that part of the game was.  They were also confused about throwing good cards into their own or their partner's crib to get more points.

A lot of families have crib boards stored away in closets.  Most students challenged their parents once they realized they had the boards at home.  Suddenly my students were playing cards with their family. 

Last is that cribbage holds up over the years.  Students love it and are enjoying the game.

We have a class team tournament where players have partners and we will find out who the champion cribbage players are.  The students are excited!  We have planned it for Halloween because well its such a crumby day to try and teach anything anyway. 

I also have a cribbage quiz planned so that the students can show their mental math, strategy, problem solving and general knowledge.   The students are improving their skills and having a lot of fun with it.  I have all the research , information, and quiz in a document.  I have put it on my TPT store at this link:  Cribbage Investigation.  If you just email I can also probably get it to you as well but it may take longer.

I recommend it. Here is the general investigation that I gave.




Please explore cribbage, its history and terminology so that you can gain a better understanding of the game.  You will need to complete this information sheet before being able to play in the tournament.

There are many websites to gain this information and it is up to you to understand it.

History of Cribbage

Cribbage was created by an English poet named Sir John Suckling in the early 17th century.  He derived the game from a card game called “noddy”.  Since the 17th century the game of cribbage has been virtually unchanged.  It is a popular game amongst the English speaking world and is played in many different situations.  American submariners consider cribbage their official pastime.  While travelling, many professional athletes will play to pass the time on planes.  The oldest active submarine in the United States Pacific Fleet carries a cribbage board from World War II.  The board is transferred to the oldest boat in the fleet.

Terms of Cribbage: Define the following

The  Crib: ___________________________________________________



§ Double Skunk: ______________________________________________



§ Flush: _____________________________________________________



§ Go: ___________________________________________________





§ Pone:  ___________________________________________________



§ Right Jack: ________________________________________________



§ Skunk: ___________________________________________________



Gameplay:  Answer True or False for the following questions


______   Each player receives 5 cards in 4 player cribbage


_______   After both players have discarded two cards into the crib, the pone cuts the deck and dealer turns over this card. If it is a jack, the dealer gets 2 points.


_______  Getting three of a kind in your hand gets you three points.


_________  A run must consist of all four my cards in order.



_________  I am allowed to use the card that was cut when counting the points in my hand and the points in my crib.


_________  When counting hands, the player with the crib gets to show his/her points first.





Is starting off by playing a card less than 5 a good strategy move?  Why or why not.













What is the best possible hand and how does it happen.










How do you decide who gets to have the crib first?










What cards from the picture

would you give to the crib?   Why?












§ Any combinations that total 15 = 2 points


§ 3 card run or higher = 1 point per card in run


§ Pairs = 2 points


§ Flush = 1 point per card (four card minimum)

§ Nobs = 1 point


Score the following hands ( the Jack is the card that was cut):



Hand 1   ________________________________________


Hand 2   ________________________________________

Hand 3   ________________________________________




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