Rules of the Game

K, 1, 2

Learners discover that rules are helpful. Rather than being a roadblock, rules can actually help us to avoid problems. Students learn that cooperation skills involve knowing and following (obeying) the rules. 

PrintOne 30 minute class period

The learner will:

  • articulate the role rules play in their home, school, playground, and in the games they play.
  • recognize the consequences of following and not following the established rules.
  • a display board
  • Know and Follow Rules by Cheri J. Meiners and Meredith. Johnson Product Code 708201 ISBN 987-1-57542-130-8
  • copies of Handout One: Family Letter for each learner (to besent home on Day One)
Home Connection 

Send home a note (see Handout) with each learner telling families that the class is learning about rules and why they are needed. Encourage them to discuss rules and expectations at home and how rules help at home. Encourage families to discuss the consequences of not cooperating with rules, focusing on the consequences that impact others and things.

  • Know and Follow Rules by Cheri J. Meiners and Meredith Johnson Product Code 708201 ISBN 987-1-57542-130-8


  1. Anticipatory Set: In advance, write the words rules and cooperate on the board. With a voice full of enthusiasm, tell students they are going to play a new game, and they should begin playing. Watch their expressions to notice that they seem confused: "What game? How do we play?"Get responses from the students about what they noticed (they don't know the rules). Summarize that when they know and follow the rules, games can be fun.

  2. (Point to the word rules on the display board.) Ask the learners to share with you what the word means and how they feel about it.Write on the board the words and phrases they use to describe rules.In their discussion, encourage them to define rules, give examples and nonexamples, and tell their purpose.

  3. Read and discuss the story “Know and Follow Rules” by Cheri J. Meiners and Meredith Johnson.

  4. Point toand say the word cooperate and then have the learners practice saying the word.Ask the students what it means to cooperate (get along with others).What happens when someone does not cooperate?

  5. Discuss how knowing and following rules helps us cooperate. What happens when the group cooperates? How does it make the student feel when someone is not following the rules and not cooperating?

  6. Have the learners share some of the rules they have in their homes. Ask why it is very important to follow these rules, and what could happen if they don’t cooperate with these rules.

  7. Review some playground rules and discuss the purpose of the rules and why it is important that everyone cooperate with these rules.

  8. Review some of the rules for the classroom.Why are these rules helpful?How do rules help us?

  9. Ask the students to think of something good that comes out of everyone following rules and playing by the rules (fun, safe, friendships develop, learn something, ready for next level of learning). Use the word common good, if age-appropriate. Lead the students to recognize that something that is good for the whole group affects each person; and each person's actions affect the whole group.

  10. Tell the learners that tomorrow you will share with them the rules of a new game that they will be playing!


Teacher observation of student involvement in the activity and sharing


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify why rules are important and how not all behaviors are addressed by rules.