Go Game in Every Math Classroom

Name:Go Game in Every Math Classroom
Contributor:Xinming Simon Guo
Organisation:Go and Math Academy in Chicago

Project Description

I started to think about how to promote Go in schools when I became a licensed math teacher, and discovered numerous moments when math skills are needed to analyse the game, especially when the game is over and final scores are counted. But I couldn’t find any research on the relationship between Go and math learning.

So I decided to start my own research. In 2011, the breaking point occurred when I started to build the Go and math correlation model by doing a backward match between Go and the newly released Common Core State Standards in Math (CCSS-M), which contains 385 skills and concepts from kindergarten to high school.

The resulting model shows the correlation between the game of Go and math learning emphasised in the math standards. The model separates the relationship into 5 categories: inherent, big, small, little and no connection. The stronger the relationship, the higher the score. A thorough analysis discloses a natural connection between Go and math, especially number sense and three domains in math standards -- Counting & Cardinality, Operations & Algebraic thinking, Number & Operations in Base Ten. Almost 60% of math contents from K to 3 can be naturally covered by this single game. Students can experience learning and application of math concepts without even noticing.

We also discovered that early elementary teachers in K to 3 makes the best target group to use Go in their math classes, through three simple steps: first, learn how to play Go; second, experience how their students play Go; third, learn innovative ways to incorporate Go in math classes. Local Go communities can team up to support teachers in the school, such as teaching students on-site, providing teacher training, etc.

Anecdotal evidences show that Go promotes decision-making, concentration, discipline and endurance of setbacks. Our lessons are aligned with the CCSS-M standards to help young students to:

  • Discover math patterns, facts and concepts.

  • Understand basic math properties and develop conceptual understanding.

  • Practice spatial and mathematical thinking.

  • Cultivate number sense.

  • Build up solid math foundations for the future.

More than 30,000 students from 60 schools in Chicago area have learned Go thus far. We have presented in math conferences to help teachers use Go in their classrooms. In 2015, I received the "Teacher of the Year" award by the American Go Foundation for my contributions to the Go world and made a keynote speech on Go and math education at the 2015 US Go Congress.

In the 2017-2018 school year, we started a pilot research program with Northwestern University involving 2nd grade students in four classrooms who took weekly, 60-minute instruction of Go in math lessons. Promising evidences have been discovered and further analysis is still on the way. This easy-to-duplicate teaching model is designed with minimum requirements for the classroom teacher and local Go community members.

Promoting Go as a math manipulative is a brand new method. We believe our innovation will expand into evidence-based research, which benefits not only US kids, but young students across the world.

Aim of the Project

Promoting Go to students and teachers in early elementary grades by integrating the game into math curriculum.


More than 30,000 students from 60 educational organisations (schools, universities, colleges, etc.) and more than 150 teachers in Chicago city and suburb areas. In the future, we plan to expand our program to other states and other countries.


2013 October 19: Public release of Go and Math Correlation model at the annual conference of ICTM (Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics).

2014 February 1: Teacher training workshop at the conference of MMC (Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago).

2014 August-present: Partnering with the Confucius Institute in Chicago to provide Go instruction service to teachers in Chicago Public Schools.

2015 June: Xinming Guo was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the American Go Foundation for his contribution of promotion Go in classrooms.

2015 August: US Go Congress keynote speech "spread Go to all classrooms around the world".

2015 December: We partnered with teachers from Cherokee elementary school (Lakeforest, IL, USA) and received the first grant from school district 113 education foundation.

2016 April: We received another grant from school district 67 foundation.

2016 Fall semester: Northwestern University Center for Talented Development offered Go game based learning class as a math course.

2017 November: Go was introduced to pre-service teachers at National College of Education of National Louis University in Chicago.

2017-2018 school year: Cherokee Elementary School started pilot research program to all four 2nd grade classes. Once a week, students get 60 minutes of instruction in Go and math basics.

2018 April: Northwestern University doctoral candidate Yanning Yu successfully defended her dissertation proposal titled “Improving Spatial Thinking and Math Through the Game of Go”.

Future plans

2018 May: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference proposal pending.

2018-2019 school year: Book about how to play Go as a manipulative in the math classroom.

2018-2020 school year: National pilot program in the US (adopt a school project).

2019~2021 school year: International trial (participants pending).

Means of the Project


  • Small Go sets for classroom setting and demo sets (can be DIY).

  • Minibook and worksheet (samples will be provided in the section Additional Comments).


  • Direct classroom teaching or co-teaching with classroom teacher.

  • Support teacher to facilitate and use Go game in math classes.

  • General education support (conference, workshop, on-site PD, etc.).


  • Educational benefits of math skills for students.

  • Math curriculum design and development.


  • We observed that students have started to use Go to explain their math ideas after learning. Deeper analysis of research data is being conducted and will provide more support for the research of Go and math project.
  • We expect that teachers will start to use Go as their daily math manipulatives activities after training and onsite support.
  • Teachers have started to organise school-wide Go tournaments and more are expected to be involved next school year.
  • We have identified unique and innovative ways to introduce Go to teachers and support their integration of Go in classrooms. Our vision is to disseminate and replicate this innovative model to schools worldwide so that more teachers and students can benefit the Go strategy in their math classrooms.  

Human Resources


  • Xinming Guo, full time working at Go and Math Academy in Chicago.
  • Research partners from Northwestern University, National Louis University, etc.
  • Part time assistants from the local Go community in the Chicago area.
  • Classroom teachers involved in the project.


  • Organise our vibrant force in Go communities across the world to build up local Go and math support teams.
  • Provide training to the local teams to help them support local schools and classroom teachers.
  • Help local teams to partner with school teachers to offer services that meet their math classroom needs.
  • Continuous and direct remove/online support and training for local teams and teachers.

Financial Resources

Majority are personnel investments, and income from school teaching service.
Also includes grants from school foundation, PTA, and some support from the American Go Foundation.


"When Go meets US math education" from World Journal Education Edition (USA).


From the American Go Association:



















World Journal 2016 Education Edition (USA, 世界日报教育专刊).

China Journal 20150717 (USA, 神州时报).

Sports World 20150722 (China, 体坛周报).

China Sports Daily 20120606 (China, 中国体育报).

2015 HangZhou International Summit Meeting (中国杭州国际棋文化峰会出版).

Workshop and Conference (Go related)

  • US Go Congress 2015, keynote speaker (St. Paul, MN).
  • INAF Go and Education Workshop 2016 (Tokyo, Japan).

Workshop and Conference (Education related)

  • ICTM 2013 (Oct 19, 2013, Peoria, IL).
  • MMC 2014 (Feb 1, 2014, Lemont, IL).
  • MMC 2015 (Jan 24, 2015, Lincolnshire, IL).
  • MMC 2018 (Feb 10th, 2018, Lisle, IL).
  • NCTM 2019 proposal pending.


We cannot collect all public exposures, but we accidentally found some, such as:

  • Some teachers put the game of Go in their curriculums.
  • Some teachers displayed and introduced Go in their school events.
  • School principals listed the game of Go as school activities and published it in school newsletters.


In the future:

  • More researches about the educational benefits of Go game.
  • Growth of the population of Go players.
  • Go game as manipulatives in all math classrooms.
  • Spread Go in every math classroom in the whole world, so that every child will have the opportunity to learn Go.


Partner with national Go organisations, national and regional educational departments.
Local Go community team up to support the promotion of Go through this innovative math method.

Additional Comments

We are so thankful to the Go community for sharing our vision and helping to spread this strategy to promote Go in other countries.
Currently, we use a Facebook webpage to publish updates: https://www.facebook.com/Go-and-Math-Academy-146418545477774/


For samples of our minibook, worksheet, and other documents, please see: Mini Go board, Go and Math Number and Operation Worksheet, Go and Math Standards Correlation Model and score, Go Game Score Card for Math Classroom.

Correlation of Go and Common Core Standards in domains
Correlation of Go and Common Core Standards in domains
Correlation of Go and Standards in K to 3
Correlation of Go and Standards in K to 3
Teacher training workshop at Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago
Teacher training workshop at Metropolitan Mathematics Club of Chicago
Pilot research with classroom teacher and school principal
Pilot research with classroom teacher and school principal
Go set, classroom kits and demonstration board for teacher
Go set, classroom kits and demonstration board for teacher
Pre-service teacher learning Go at National Louis University
Pre-service teacher learning Go at National Louis University
Grant certificate from School District 67
Grant certificate from School District 67
Keynote speech at US Go Congress 2015
Keynote speech at US Go Congress 2015
More and more students will learn math through Go
More and more students will learn math through Go
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