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.
Word Sort is one of the many “brain games” offered by Lumosity. In this particular one, cards are revealed one at a time. Each card has a word on it, and the player must determine whether or not the card “follows the rule”. At first, the player has to randomly guess, but should soon see a pattern in the words that fall into the rule-following pile. Once the player is able to correctly classify 6 words in a row, he or she is eligible for the next level. This is a good game for practicing vocabulary and logical reasoning. It would also be a neat idea to extend it further for higher level students by asking them to create their own games with words from the curriculum.
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.
My posts have been a little serious lately. So, I found an antidote on the blog “Technology Rocks, Seriously“. The author, Shannon, posts several links to some Thanksgiving logic puzzles and other problem solving games. “Turkey Liberation 2” piqued my interest. I recently read this post on video games enhancing creativity, so here is your justification for adding a few to your lesson plan!
I learned about Manga High
a few weeks ago, but wanted to explore it more before sharing it. Now that I’ve had a chance to delve into it a little, I can’t wait for everyone else to try it!
Manga High is a free math resource for K-12. Teachers can register entire classes, and no student e-mails are necessary to create their accounts. Once the teacher manually adds each student, or uploads the class using a spreadsheet, the teacher can then select levels for each student to “play”. Students can earn achievements by playing the math games. The teacher has access to class reports, and individualized ones that would be useful for conferencing.
I’m going to start giving my gifted students in 5th grade access to it next week to pilot it. Please let me know if you use it, and what your own feelings are about this seemingly indispensable tool!
Lemelson Center’s Invention at Play is a website that encourages creative thinking. The philosophy is that, by playing, we become more inventive. Cloud Dreamer allows the students to use their imaginations to create their own visions in the clouds. Puzzle Blocks emphasizes problem-solving with tangram pieces. In Word Play the students create stories. By far, one of the favorite playgrounds among my students is Tinker Ball. This is basically a web version of the Bubble Ball app I posted about not too long ago. The students have to use various pieces in combination to get a ball into a cup. It’s fun to challenge them to find out who can do it successfully with the least pieces or the most. I love that they are problem-solving, but that there endless solutions to the problem. You could have them write a “How To” paper giving instructions, or get them to think about their own thinking and describe the process they followed to reach their final solution.
Before you click on this link, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands. I have it on good authority from several people, including my eight-year old, that this site is addictive. To be honest, I had a hard time tearing myself away from the screen once I got started. What I love about this site is that it requires a combination of creativity, problem-solving, and musical talent. Basically, it allows you to compose music by building roads, adding cars to the roads, and placing various types of waypoints to create the notes. But you won’t understand the full potential of Isle of Tune until you visit it yourself. And, while you’re there, be sure to visit the isles that have already been created. You will be amazed at the ingenuity used to recreate popular songs and to invent new compositions. Even more exciting news – they are planning to launch their iPad app this week.