I apologize to those of you who may not celebrate Christmas, as these puzzles all fit that theme. I did look for online logic puzzles to represent the other winter holidays, and sadly did not find any that would be appropriate for this post. I will try to be more prepared next year!
The following links are to online, flash based games that require strategy and/or logic. They would make good centers for the last few days before the break if you are in the same boat as the teachers in our district, who are teaching into next week. Parents, here is a way to keep your kids challenged over the holidays. Remember, the games will be most effective if there is an accompanying reflection, whether written or verbal, about the thinking that is used to complete each puzzle.
Christmas Tree Light Up – Connect all of the bulbs and wires to light up the tree.
The Christmas Tree Maze – Drag the bar of lights at the bottom of the tree along the maze of white wires until one of the end bulbs lights up the star at the top.
Christmas Ornaments Swap – Try to get 3 or more Christmas decorations of the same type in a row.
I’m not sure to whom I should attribute this site, but Mini Motivation is a handy tool for posting inspiring quotes during down times on your projector screen. Every time you hit refresh, a new quote comes up. It might be a good activity for high level students to research the quote’s author, explain the quote in his or her own words, find a way to relate it to the current curriculum, explain his or her own opinion, or even illustrate the quote.
Solitaire Chess Free is a challenging app for iOS. I also mentioned the boardgame that can be purchased at Mindware in my last post. In both versions, the object of the one-player game is to capture all of the pieces on the board until there is only one left. Every move has to result in a capture. This is a nice way for kids to learn the appropriate moves for each of the chess pieces, and to practice thinking ahead. There are increasing levels of difficulty, which means that students can quickly move to the level that best fits their needs.
Today’s post comes from the same people who provide “Boolify”, which I highlighted yesterday. In Comparison Search, the researcher gets the added benefit of searching for web sites that may have different points of view on the same topic. It allows you to type in a keyword or phrase, such as “genetic engineering”, and to then choose the positive and negative search terms you would like to use, such as “advantages” and “disadvantages”. The search results are then given in two columns, respective to your search terms. As I mentioned yesterday, these searches are not “safe searches”, so teachers in primary grades probably should not let their students loose on this tool. However, it can be quite valuable in trying to teach a lesson on the objectivity, or lack of it, on many websites.
According to its website, “The Learning Network provides teaching and learning materials and ideas based on New York Times content.” Although the site is designed for students who are 13 or over, I have found many lessons that can be adapted to my elementary level Gifted and Talented students. The site includes lesson plans with links to related stories in the New York Times, as well as news quizzes and crossword puzzles. I find the “Student Opinion” section to be a treasure chest of engaging questions that can help students connect themselves to the real world. The “Poetry Pairings” section is also intriguing. The site is a great resource for teachers, and gives teenagers a voice and a place to see how the news relates to them
Do you have a student who likes to argue? Maybe one who aspires to be a lawyer one day? Introduce him or her to this website, which is “designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy.” With a woman like Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spearheading this effort to educate our children about citizenship, this site is not only a great addition to the curriculum, but an inspiration to students to become more involved in their communities. You can try the games, like Argument Wars, or register for free and receive all of the benefits.
This site has interesting prompts with great graphics that will inspire your students to be creative. Great for a center or whole-class activity, each post is thought-provoking and sure to spark interest. I almost got side-tracked, myself, as I was getting information for this post. I have not viewed all of the over 200 prompts, but please remember, especially if you are an elementary teacher, to preview the topics and pics before you choose to link to them or use them in class.