Yesterday’s post, which was about finding creative ways to make Zoom (or any online conference) calls fun, was a nice lead-in today’s shared activity. Eric Berlin, puzzlemaker extraordinaire, (see my Puzzlesnacks post for more info) came up with an ingenious idea that adds a twist to social distancing while earning money for charity. When you use the form linked on this page to donate to Feeding America, and then provide a screen shot of your receipt, you will be e-mailed two sets of eleven puzzles in PDF form. Choose a puzzle partner to give Set A or B to, and you will work on the other. You can do some of the puzzles independently, and others will need collaboration. The combination of puzzle answers from both sets will be needed to solve the final puzzle.
I haven’t done all of the puzzles, yet, but they look like they are probably suited for teenagers and up. With your two sets of challenges comes a third file of hints and solutions. For more information about Feeding America, you can visit this page on their website. However, be sure to go to Eric Berlin’s page through this link so your donation will be correctly allocated.
A few years ago, I wrote a post about a site called, “Puzzle Your Kids.” Hosted by the author of the Puzzling World of Winston Breen series, Eric Berlin (@puzzlereric), “Puzzle Your Kids” provided a free puzzle each week, as well as a $5 monthly subscription for more puzzles. It looks like there have been a few changes, and the site has a new name and new home, along with a new price. It is now called, “Puzzlesnacks.” You can still get a subscription, but it is at the bargain price of $3 per month. Weekly puzzles continue to be free downloads, and there are other puzzle packs you can purchase in the online shop.This page describes the approximate independence level of puzzle solvers, from the age of 8 and up. I highly recommend adults working on these with children, as that type of modeling from my own parents is how I grew up to love logic and problem solving as well as develop a certain amount of perseverance. In fact, my dad and I still semi-compete in solving a weekly mega-Sudoku puzzle that keeps my skills sharpened and my ego humble.
And no, I’m not exactly sure what language the crossword puzzle in the image below is (Greek, maybe?), but I thank the person on Pixabay who shared it.
These online Futoshiki Puzzles were created by KrazyDad (you can find puzzles of all types on his site here). The puzzles are similar to Sudoku and KenKen in that you are trying to place numbers in a matrix using logic without repeating digits in any row or column. The twist is that Futoshiki puzzles provide clues using the inequality symbols for less than/greater than. Your clues are in comparing boxes that are on either side of the inequality to determine which digits would logically work.
You can do Futoshiki puzzles online here. Or, you can print out the pages provided by KrazyDad here.
Jim Bumgardner, the man behind KrazyDad, provides practically unlimited puzzle game fun on his site, so once you get worn out on the Futoshiki puzzles I recommend you try some of his other unique puzzles.
I have talked about Breakout Edu in other posts, most recently in this one, but I didn’t find out until today that there is a Breakout Edu Digital site. Affiliated with the original, this site offers puzzles that are internet based, so you don’t need to have any actual locks or boxes. As you solve the clues, you input them into a form which has spaces for virtual locks. The form can be submitted only after you have put in all of the correct answers.
Breakout Edu Digital has difficulty ratings, but they are subjective. I’m ashamed to say that I tried to solve the one rated a “2” before I typed this post, and failed. I could make excuses – like that our new puppy kept trying to drag shoes out from under my desk – but that would be wrong. Mostly because that would give you the impression that I keep a lot of shoes under my desk. Which is not true. At least not at the moment. BECAUSE THE PUPPY KEEPS DRAGGING THEM TO RANDOM PLACES AROUND THE HOUSE. Because I always arrange them neatly on the shoe rack in my closet.
Anyway, if you are looking for some ways to keep everyone thinking the last few days, you could try out Breakout Edu Digital. Give your students a Level 2 challenge and see how they do.
But I won’t admit their superiority unless they solve it with a puppy distracting them.
Excuse me now. If I don’t give the puppy another shoe, she will chew the power cord.
Yes, I spelled it right. At least, I spelled it the way the website, pzzlr.com, spells it. Considering this is a Phun Phriday post, I think it fits in quite nicely.
If you and your students enjoy brainteasers, then you might want to take a look at this site. Of course, you might find it a bit frustrating. I was kind of upset with myself when I finally gave up and looked at the answer to this one – especially since I realized I was so close to solving it right before I caved.
I don’t know that I would necessarily direct my students to the site itself, as it contains ads. Plus, they will probably cheat – like me. But you could certainly find some puzzles to print off and give to students who have some “spare time” in your room, or present one a week.
Here’s one more. I actually solved this one, so it might be too easy for your students 😉