Starting this summer, local middle schoolers will be able to learn to play bridge from someone who knows about critical thinking.
Laurence Peterson, retired dean of Kennesaw State University’s college of science and mathematics, will host a class at the Cumming Library to teach middle school students the basics of bridge, a team card game in which players attempt to score points by making bids.
“The purpose is to introduce middle school students … teach them the basic principles of bridge, such that they can take the next step and then participate in some duplicate bridge that I’m planning to have also in August, September and October,” Peterson said.
The classes will begin on July 1 and go the next four Saturdays from 1:30-3:00 p.m. and Peterson is looking for about 20 middle school students to learn the game, which Peterson said students would benefit from picking up early.
“One, they’ve got the capability of learning if they have the math skills of counting, they have the counting skills and they have the time; they’re not so committed with the activities that high school students typically are,” he said. “The earlier you start something like bridge or chess, the more likely you’re going to make it a lifelong type of activity.
Peterson said he has not been a long-time player, only playing in college until taking a class after retiring three years ago, and the game teaches skills that many college classes do not have or do not allow students to use.
“Critical analysis, decision making, strategic planning, problem solving, every seven-minute hand of bridge you use all of those,” he said. “It’s a way not only to develop and enhance them but to use them and that will definitely carry over.
“In addition to that, you have communication skills that are important, team work and ethics, so it brings it all together.”
Before academia, Peterson worked as a senior executive in the private sector and said the skills in the game were what he sought when hiring scientists, engineers and other positions.
While all the learning and skills may be a plus to parents, there is also a reason for students to play.
“The game of bridge is really a lot of fun to play,” Peterson said. “Atlanta actually has a very strong youth bridge program and the students are not only able to use and enhance the skills I’ve talked about, they’re having a great time and bonding.”
Five months of the year, Peterson teaches chemistry once a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he also plans to teach middle schoolers bridge.
“I’m interested in paying back by teaching,” Peterson said.
For more information, including adults interested in teaching the game, contact Peterson by phone at (404) 948-8232 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.