Tag Archives: puzzles

Student Crosswords from the NY Times

Did you know that the New York Times has an archive of student crosswords listed by subjects on this page?  From American History to Technology, you can find puzzles created by Frank Longo as well as the answers and suggested curriculum links.  I found this link when I discovered this page that provides a printable crossword puzzle on how people say thank you around the world.  A couple of other timely suggestions are, “Thanksgiving,” “Giving,” and “Holidays Around the World.”  These seem to be targeted at the teenage age range, though some upper elementary and middle school students can probably work on them in groups, given the proper resources.

image from Pixabay

Futoshiki Puzzles

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.

image from Wikimedia

Breakout Edu Digital

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.

I digress.

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.

It’s time to raid my husband’s closet…

Maybe I'm just overthinking it...
Maybe I’m just overthinking it…


You can find the answer here.
From pzzler.com.  You can find the answer here.

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.

Roman Numerals
Trust me – you’re going to be upset with yourself if you don’t solve this.

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 😉

Click here for the answer.
Click here for the answer.

Wordle Jigsaw Puzzles

from: Daily Learning to the Core
from: Daily Learning to the Core

When I saw this idea on “Learning to the Core“, I thought it would make a great activity for the end of the school year.  Basically, your students create a Wordle, and then it is made into an online jigsaw puzzle for them to solve.  Depending on the ability of your students, the Wordles could: describe their school year, summarize a particular unit, give clues about a student in the class, use Word Wall words, be a famous quote, etc…

Once the Wordles are created, a screenshot can be taken and saved or e-mailed to the teacher, who can load them into a class account on Jigsaw Planet for all students to solve.

My wheels are already turning on how I might use this during the summer to keep my gifted students thinking.

Some other sites or apps you could use to create the images for the jigsaws might be:  Tagxedo, WordFoto(iOS), You Are Your Words, Tagul, ABCya Word Clouds.

Camelot Jr.

For those of you new to this blog, I am devoting Fridays during the holiday season to recommending “Gifts for the Gifted”.  You can see the three posts that I have done so far hereherehere and here.  You can also visit my Pinterest board on Games for Gifted Students.  A lot of these are not just for gifted students, but would be appreciated by many children – and adults.

I bought “Camelot Jr.” several years ago on sale at Barnes and Noble.  Back then, it was called “Royal Rescue”, and I liked the idea that a little bit of building was integrated with the logic puzzles.  This game can be played alone, or with a couple of people.  The challenge is to find a way for the knight and the princess to meet.  There is a book of puzzles, and they are in order of difficulty.  You are given a picture showing the initial construction, with the knight and princess on opposite sides, and shown pictures of which blocks can be used to create a “road” that will join the two figures.

This is a great game for children five and up.  Don’t let them skip to the middle because it seems too easy at first.  Each challenge teaches you something, and you can use your experience from previous, easier challenges, to help solve the harder ones.

If you read the reviews on Amazon.com, you will see that many people felt that “Camelot Jr.” was a fun activity for kids and adults.  As I’ve watched my daughter and many of my students work through it, they have reached puzzles that I definitely can’t solve mentally, and it’s exciting to observe the children problem solving, reaching the edge of frustration, and then crowing with triumph when they finally reach the solution.


image from: http://www.parade.com/games/kennections

I thought I would post about something light, but fun, today.  Recently, in Parade Magazine, there has been a new feature by Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champion.  It’s a puzzle called “Kennections“, and it is pretty challenging.  “Kennections” gives you 5 trivia questions.  To solve the puzzle, you must answer the trivia questions and figure out what the answers all have in common.  If you don’t receive Parade Magazine, you can go to “Kennections” online for the latest puzzle, as well as the archives.

The puzzles are probably too hard for elementary students, but older kids might enjoy doing some research to find the solutions.  Another fun idea is to have kids create their own puzzles using this framework.  The “Kennections” site is asking for people to submit their own, but it does require an e-mail address.  I think it would be fun just to do within the classroom, or to exchange puzzles with pen pals or e-pals.  This would be a great challenge, particularly for the higher level students in your class.