#myFavFriday- Sticks

Wow, it feels good to blog again!  I have been so busy this week and have really missed writing this blog and reading everyone else’s.

My school doesn’t have bussing, so all of the kids stand by grade level along the curb and their parents pick them up (families stand together).  It is actually a much faster process than it sounds because we have it down to a science.  Today at the curb, one of my kids came up to me, held out his two index fingers, and said, “Do you want to play sticks?”  I just stared at him like he was insane.  Then another student ran up and said, “STICKS!  I’ll play!!”  and held out his two index fingers as well.  Suddenly they were hitting each other’s fingers, bumping their fingers together, putting fingers up and down, and groaning and cheering while I stood there completely clueless.  Within a few seconds we had a crowd around us with several groups playing sticks.  Maybe you are all reading this thinking that I am completely clueless and how did I survive my childhood without playing this game, but for the rest of you- here is what the kids taught me.

You both start with two fingers out, one on each hand.  One person hits their one finger on the other person’s one finger.  One finger plus one finger equals two fingers that person two should now have up on that hand.  Then person two goes.  He can hit his two fingers on the one hand or the one finger on the other hand to combine with player one’s fingers to make player one now have two or three fingers up, depending on the move player two makes.  I am doing my best to explain this game, but man it sounds complicated!  You can always split your fingers that are up onto two hands or combine them to one hand.  When the other player hits your hands to make five, you have to put that hand down until you want to use it again to split your fingers.  When both of your hands are down, you loose the game.

The point is this: suddenly I had a whole group of students, figuring out ways to make groups of 5, add and subtract numbers so quickly I couldn’t follow wht was happening, split different numbers using many strategies in order to prevent the other player from making a group of five… and eveyone was cheering and totally into it!  It was so fun!  At one point, I had two students slow down and walk me through the game so I could learn the rules.  One student made a move and I stopped him and asked why he would do that.  He looked at me and simply said, “I’m a master at this game.  This is one of my tricks.”  I could practically hear the “duh” coming out of his mouth.  So awesome!

They did manage to convince me that they had invented this game years ago, but I was able to find some information online.  It appears to more commonly be called chopsticks.  Either way, it was a great way to end our Friday!

Wikipedia Link

You Tube Video

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2 thoughts on “#myFavFriday- Sticks

  1. I saw two high school juniors playing it after a test (silently) last week. First time I’ve run across it in 25 years of teaching. Thanks for explaining how it works.

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