Time Required:

5-10 minutes

Tools Required:
  • Magnetic chess board with 4 knights and 12 pawns
  • 4 giant knights
  • Giant chessboard
  • Bean bags
      Chess Objective(s):

      Students will be able to:

      • Demonstrate how the knight moves
      General Objective(s):
      • Recognize an L-shaped pattern in different rotations
      • Improve coordination

      Set up a knight in the corner of the magnetic board and fill the three adjacent squares with pawns.

      Explain that the knight is like a horse that can jump over a fence. It is the only piece that can jump over other pieces. The knight always jumps over the fence (point out the pawns) to a square just on the other side that is a different color.

      Then have a conversation kind of like this:

      Ask the children, “What color space is the knight on?” [They respond with the color.]

      “Right! And where is the fence?” [Have them describe the fence.]

      “So when the knight jumps over the fence to the other color, what color will it jump to?” [opposite color]

      “Yes! There are 2 [black or white] squares the knight can jump to! Can you point to one of them?”

      “And the other?”

      Now set up all four corners with knights and pawns. Repeat for an opposite color knight.

      Let all the children take turns jumping knights over “the fence” and BACK AGAIN to the starting square. 

      If you think they’re ready, repeat on the giant board (but with only 1 knight & 3 pawns at a time). You can place bean bags to show the ok squares to jump to. Let the children take turns jumping the knight out and back.

      Suggested phrase: hop, hop, left; hop, hop, right

      Description for Parents

      The children learned how knights move. They learned that a knight is the only piece in chess that can jump and that it always moves to the opposite color than it started on. To learn how the knight moves, we started with the knight in the corner of the board surrounded by a “fence” of pawns. The children got to practice jumping the knight over the fence to the correct square. Then they got to practice again without the fence! (We don’t use the standard “L” explanation for knight movements since some of the children are still mastering their letter shapes and we don’t want to cause confusion.)