School Programs

School Programs

For more information on school programs or the WCHOF curriculum, please contact:

Kathryn Adamchick

School Programs

School Programs

The World Chess Hall of Fame offers school programs for students from elementary through high school, both individually and in collaboration with our neighbors and partners, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). Meeting Show-Me Standards in social studies and the visual arts, WCHOF school programming emphasizes object- and inquiry-based learning skills through active engagement with exhibited artifacts. This focus on the humanities complements the logic and math skills developed by CCSCSL programming, providing students with a unique, holistic learning experience.

Classrooms currently receiving instruction through the CCSCSL’s scholastics program receive a complimentary field trip (transportation excluded) to that institution. Collaborative field trips, which also include a tour of the WCHOF, are available to these groups at no additional charge. When arranging your field trip, please indicate that you wish to pursue a collaborative visit.

For school groups not affiliated with the CCSCSL’s scholastics program, programs are available both at the WCHOF individually and in collaboration with the CCSCSL. Non-affiliated school groups will be charged a rate of $5 per student for a program at the WCHOF, and $8 per student for a collaborative program between both organizations.

School programs at the WCHOF last approximately one hour. Collaborative visits will last approximately two hours.

WCHOF programs and tours can be tailored to a wide range of ages and subject areas. When booking your tour, please mention any topics or subjects you would like the educator to cover.

World Chess Hall of Fame Curriculum

The World Chess Hall of Fame is pleased to offer 36 lesson plans, free of charge, for use by classroom educators. The World Chess Hall of Fame curriculum is aligned with Missouri Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) in Communication Arts, Fine Arts, and/or Social Studies, but lessons are broadly focused enough that they may easily be adapted to other state or Common Core standards. Specific learning standards are denoted in the individual lesson plans.

This school curriculum uses as a theme the six pieces on a modern chessboard—king, queen, rook, bishop, knight, and pawn. Many of these figures will be familiar to students and educators regardless of whether or not they play chess. Therefore, the pieces are re-envisioned not as game tokens, but as symbols that have impacted art, history, and popular culture. No chessplaying experience is required for teachers and students to complete the lessons.

  • King lesson plans look at the political and social structures of the Middle Ages drawing comparisons to systems of authority in modern nations, communities, and schools.
  • Queen activities highlight a series of women who contributed significantly to politics, art, and culture, including the game of chess.
  • As a chess piece, the rook resembles a tower or castle. Rook exercises explore the purpose and function behind these massive structures with a series of castle-related activities.
  • The modern-day Bishop piece has perhaps changed more than any other. In these lessons, learn more about how goods and ideas spread and change across cultures.
  • The Knight theme takes a cloer look at the dashing figures who remain one of the most ubiquitous symbols of medieval life. 
  • Pawn activities examine the livelihoods of medieval “commoners,” the farm laborers and townspeople that were by far society’s largest class.

Two levels of lesson plans are available: one for lower (K-4) and one for upper (5-8) elementary grade levels. Each level contains 18 lesson plans, 6 each in the areas of Communication Arts, Fine Arts, and Social Studies. All lesson plans are in .pdf format.


Communication Arts - Lower Elementary (K-4)

King: Heroes in Life and Legend

Queen: Fable Fun

Rook: Sense (and Scents) of the Past

Bishop: Pawn or Peón?

Knight: Good Knight?

Pawn: Pawns on Paper


Fine Arts - Lower Elementary (K-4)

King: A Story in Pictures

Queen: Sofonisba Anguissola, Renaissance Artist

Rook: As the Seasons Change

Bishop: Uncovering the Lewis Chessmen

Knight: Knightly Symbols

Pawn: Professions in Print


Social Studies - Lower Elementary (K-4)

King: King, Queen,…Kindergartener?

Queen: Check It Out: Comparing and Contrasting Paintings

Rook: Which Part Will Protect?

Bishop: North, South, East, Chess

Knight: Knight Time

Pawn: A Peasant’s Pastimes


Communication Arts - Upper Elementary (5-8)

King: Founding Documents: The Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution

Queen: Alice in Acrostic

Rook: Royal Real Estate

Bishop: Chess in Lore and Legend

Knight: What Makes a Knight?

Pawn: The Village Voices


Fine Arts - Upper Elementary (5-8)

King: A Story in Pictures

Queen: Sofonisba Anguissola, Renaissance Artist

Rook: As the Seasons Change

Bishop: Uncovering the Lewis Chessmen

Knight: Knightly Symbols

Pawn: Professions in Print


Social Studies - Upper Elementary (5-8)

King: Feudal Fairness?

Queen: Royal Scrapbook

Rook: Constructing Castles

Bishop: Changing Chess on the Silk Road

Knight: What’s in a (Family) Name?

Pawn: Careers of the Commoners