Lesson Plan 1: Nine Men’s Morris Historical/Cultural Perspective



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Lesson Plan 1: Nine Men’s Morris

Historical/Cultural Perspective: Nine Men’s Morris (known as Mill in the U.S., Mérelles in France, Shax in Somali, Achi in Ghana, and Mühle in Germany) is one of the world’s oldest board games. The game tic-tac-toe is based upon Nine Men’s Morris. The Vikings, who lived from 700 – 1000 C.E., played this game during their long sea voyages. It was extremely popular in Europe during the Middle Ages. When English noblemen, during the fourteenth century, played this game outside using children and servants as game pieces. The grid was often marked in the turf. Shakespeare may have referred to this game in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (II, I, 96-8):


The folds stand empty in the drowned field,



And crows are fatter with the murrion flock

The nine men’s morris is filled up with mud.”
Objective: SWBAT measure and draw 3 square boxes, one inside the next, linked with two horizontal and two vertical lines as shown. SW use good strategy to play game.
Materials: Square game board of wood or oak tag, eighteen round game pieces (nine black and nine white), ruler, pencil, and colored markers to color game pieces.
Procedure: Each player begins with nine pieces. Players take turns putting each piece on a vacant intersection on the game board. A player who gets three pieces in a row (horizontally or vertically) has a “mill.” This player can

remove an opponent’s piece, so long as it is not in a mill

(unless there are no free-standing pieces left). Pieces

removed from the board are considered “dead.” Once all

the pieces are on the board, players continue to alternate turns by moving a piece to an adjacent vacant position on a line, attempting to create a mill. A mill can be made/broken many times as enemy pieces are removed each a mill is formed. A player can set up a double mill with one piece moving back and forth between the two mills, capturing an opponent’s piece on each turn. The winner is the player who leaves an opponent with only two pieces (men) or who has blocked an opponent’s

pieces so they cannot be moved.



Assessment: Observation sheet based on level of participation on a 0-2 scale: 0-non-particpation 1-some participation 2- full participation in activity, and an anecdotal record based on behavior during activity.


Position after two moves each.


Position after Black’s third move (forming a mill and capturing the opponent’s white piece).





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