Learn About Scrabble – Unit Study and Badge Resource
Great for practicing vocabulary and spelling, Scrabble is a game that can be found in most American households. This game teaches strategy, re-enforces basic math skills, and those cute little tiles can be used for a variety of activities and crafts. The following unit study provides a variety of lesson plans for earning your Scrabble badge and learning more about this iconic game.
1. Learn What Scrabble Is and How to Play It.
To learn about Scrabble, you first must familiarize yourself with the game. If you have a Scrabble game bring it out and teach your kids to play with the official game rules. Depending on their ages, teach them how to keep score as well. Keeping score re-enforces basic math skills in both addition and simple multiplication. If you do not own a Scrabble game, download the Scrabble Go App and play online.
(Fulfills Scrabble badge requirement #1. Play at least 10 games to fulfill requirement #3 as well)
2. Learn About the History of the Scrabble Game.
Learn the history of Scrabble by visiting the Hasbro website where you can learn more details about the timeline markers we have listed below. This site is great for tidbits like why Scrabble is designed the way it is. According to Alfred Butts, “…there is one thing that keeps word games from being as popular as card games: they have no score.”
Use the dates below to create a simple time line. If you want to get creative, spell out a simplified version of your timeline with actual Scrabble pieces next to each date such as “Criss Cross Words”, “Trademarked”, “Sets Made”, etc.
- 1933 – Alfred Mosher Butts invents the game and names it Criss Cross Words
- 1948 – Butts partners with James Brunot and has the name “Scrabble” trademarked.
- 1949 – 2,400 Scrabble sets were made and the company lost $450
- 1952 – Scrabble is licensed to the Selchow & Righter Company to market and distribute the games in the United States and Canada.
- 1972 – Selchow & Righter purchased the trademark from Brunot
- 1986 – Selchow & Righter was sold to COLECO Industries
- 1989 – COLECO goes out of business and Scrabble is purchased by Hasbro
- Today – The SCRABBLE game is found in three of every five American homes
(Fulfills the first part of Scrabble badge requirement #2)
3. Read About a Famous Scrabble Champion
Read about a Scrabble champion such a Nigel Richards, the only Scrabble player to have won the world champion title more than once (at least as of this writing in 2021).
Other articles about Nigel include:
(Fulfills the second part of Scrabble badge requirement #2)
4. Learn About Scrabble Tournaments.
While Scrabble is a fun game to play at home with friends, there are also local, national and international tournaments and competitions.
NASPA stands for the North American Scrabble Players Association and their website, https://scrabbleplayers.org/, is where you can go to find out all things Scrabble. The first step to playing in a tournament is to join a local Scrabble club. To see if there is a club near you, visit the club roster page of the NASPA website. If local Scrabble club meetings are too far away for you to attend, you can play Scrabble on the Internet with other logophiles through the Internet Scrabble Club. As with local clubs, the Internet Scrabble Club includes players of all skill levels, from novice to world-class.
Learn the rules for tournament play and play a mock tournament with friends. If possible, compete in a real one.
(Fulfills Scrabble badge requirement #5)
5. Scrabble Helps
Scrabble is a combination of luck, word knowledge, and strategy. There are many books and other “helps” available to increase your skill at the game. Just a few of these include:
- Scrabble Dictionaries
- Scrabble word websites
- Scrabble strategy books
Familiarize yourself with three or more specific “helps” and discuss how each can improve your game. Here are few to get you started:
- Scrabble Word Finder– type in your scrabble letters to see all possible word choices
- Scrabble Dictionary – not sure if your word is allowed? Check the Scrabble Dictionary.
- Everything Scrabble – Book – tips on how the world’s greatest players win; improving anagramming skills; strategies, etc.
(Fulfills Scrabble badge requirement #9)
6. Improve Math, Spelling and Vocabulary
Scrabble can help improve your skills and knowledge in math, spelling and vocabulary. As you learn Scrabble strategies you will discover a plethora of new words to improve your score. Learning to spell words correctly so you don’t get challenged is another important Scrabble skill. Math of course is how you win the game. You need to be able to calculate scores in your head to figure out the highest scoring words available to you.
Here is some Scrabble information to get you started.
Total face point value of all 100 tiles is 187.
There are 225 squares on a Scrabble board.
Point value is as follows:
- (1 point)-A, E, I, O, U, L, N, S, T, R
- (2 points)-D, G
- (3 points)-B, C, M, P
- (4 points)-F, H, V, W, Y
- (5 points)-K
- (8 points)- J, X
- (10 points)-Q, Z
A x 9 B x 2 C x 2 D x 4 E x 12 F x 2 G x 3 H x 2 I x 9 J x 1 K x 1 L x 4 M x 2 N x 6 O x 8 P x 2 Q x 1 R x 6 S x 4 T x 6 U x 4 V x 2 W x 2 X x 1 Y x 2 Z x 1 Blank x 2
Use this information to make up your own games to improve your math and spelling skills. For example, Set the clock for 2 minutes and see how many words you can make using only the available letters. Or draw 4 tiles a time and race a partner to see who can add their points together the fastest. Older kids can run probabilities on the chance they will draw a certain tile.
(Fulfills Scrabble requirement #7)
7. Create a Scrabble Craft
Scrabble tiles have become quite popular in the craft world as people use them to make everything from keychains and necklaces to signs for their wall. Use old Scrabble tiles for a craft of your choice.
Diys.com has directions for 25 different Scrabble crafts if you need ideas.
A quick simple Scrabble craft project is to glue Scrabble pieces onto an inexpensive frame to make something personalized. Words like FAMILY, FRIENDS, or the name of someone makes a simple frame suddenly personal.
(Fulfills Scrabble requirement #11)
8. House Rules
House rules are those rules that are not part of the official Scrabble rules, but that players agree to follow. An example of a house rule might include replacing blanks already on the board with the corresponding letter tile so as to be able to use the blank in the same turn (no points are gained for the letter replacing the blank). Other house rules may even the game for an advanced player verses a novice such as doubling the novice score or restricting advanced players by not allowing them to score double or triple word scores. Come up with one or more house rules and try playing a game with them. Was it more fun or less than following the official rules?
(Fulfills Scrabble requirement #6)
9. Help Others
Now it is time to give back and share what you have learned. Teach a younger person, such as a younger sibling, friend, or fellow member, how to play Scrabble, or play a game with someone in a nursing home or other place where you can share your knowledge with your community.
(Fulfills Scrabble requirement #8)
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