Chess Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about chess. Students will answer questions about two texts, explain how to set up a chess board and describe how to play using correct terminology.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on chess, students will be able to:

  • Cite text evidence when answering questions about the text
  • Summarize how to set up a chess board and how to move the chess pieces
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to describe the chess pieces and game play


90 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.


Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.


  • bishop
  • castling
  • check
  • checkmate
  • chess
  • draw
  • en passant
  • king
  • knight
  • opponent
  • pawn
  • pawn promotion
  • queen
  • rook
  • strategy


Reading & Discussion Questions

Chess Basics

  • Teach students to identify each of the pieces of chess.
  • Read Chess Basics: Lesson for Kids as a class, and address the following discussion points:
    • How is playing chess like commanding an army?
    • Describe a chess board.
    • Where is the rook placed on the board at the beginning of play?
    • Describe the knight.
    • How many bishops does each player begin with?
    • What color space does the queen start on?
    • What happens if the king is captured?
    • How many pawns does each player start with?
    • Which player goes first?
    • Which piece is allowed to jump over other pieces?
    • What happens if two pieces occupy the same space?
    • How does the rook move?
    • What is check?
    • How does the knight move?
    • How many spaces can a pawn move at one time?
    • Which direction does the bishop move?
  • Ask if there are any questions, then give the students the lesson's printable quiz worksheet to check for understanding.
  • Check the answers as a class.

Chess Rules

  • Next, read Rules of Chess: Lesson for Kids with students. Pause to discuss the following questions:
    • What is the goal of chess?
    • How many of each pieces does each player begin with?
    • How many pieces do players move during each turn?
    • Which direction does the pawn move?
    • How many spaces can the rook move?
    • Which direction does the bishop move?
    • Which pieces can move in any direction?
    • How many spaces at a time can the king move?
    • What happens if you get your pawn to the other end of the chessboard?
    • What does en passant mean?
    • What is castling?
    • When is castling allowed?
    • What is the difference between check and checkmate?
    • If your opponent puts your king in check, what are you required to do during your next move?
    • What is a draw?
  • Pass out the printable worksheet. Have students complete the questions independently, then check the answers together.

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