Cross the River, Patriot!

Cross the River, Patriot! Activity

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Nowadays, if you want to cross just about any major American river, all you need to do is find the bridge. But in 1776, as our American colonists geared up for full-scale war, it was not that easy! In fact, some of the most spectacular moments of the war involved sneaky water crossings, whether on the Hudson River, where soldiers strung a huge chain near what is now West Point, or the Delaware River, where Washington made his famous crossing.

So this Fourth of July, try this fun, history-inspired math and logic puzzle for your kids to play to celebrate the holiday and our country's history.

What You Need:

  • “Cross the River” playing board (download here)
  • Pencils or washable transparency pens
  • Laminator, to laminate the playing board (optional)

What You Do:

  1. This is a game for two players. One will be a “patriot” (blue star) and one will be a “redcoat” (red asterisk star).
  2. The first player—let’s say it’s the patriot—will draw a “bridge” line between any two adjacent blue stars, either across or down, like this:
  3. Then the redcoat may connect any two adjacent red stars either across or down, like this:
  4. Neither patriot nor redcoat may draw a diagonal line (this would go through the other side’s symbolic “territory,” and neither one may draw through a line that has already been made on the board.
  5. Keep going, with patriots and redcoats alternating moves.
  6. The patriot wins if she can make a successful bridge from the top row of stars to the bottom, but the redcoat wins if she can make a bridge from the left to the right. Whoever can make their bridge and get their soldiers over to their other side, wins the game!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school history and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

Updated on Mar 16, 2012
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