St. Patrick’s Day Logic Puzzles for Beginners

Slide1 I love teaching logic to students!  I first used matrix logic puzzles when I began teaching gifted students back in 1978!  Wow!  That’s been a long time ago!  I believe that teaching logic is vital if we are going to teach our students how to think.  Inferring is a big skill  in the new common core, and logic requires students to make inferences.  I see lots of  logic puzzles out there,  but I really don’t see many for primary students.  The primary years are the perfect time to introduce logic and deductive thinking!  Last November, I developed a set of logic puzzles with a Christmas theme for primary students.  They were so well received and everyone started asking me to develop logic puzzles for other holidays.   Well,  I got too busy with some other stuff I was creating and let Valentines day get too close, so I  looked ahead and created this packet of logic puzzles with a St.  Patrick’s day theme.  They’re great to use for morning work, in a center, or for those early finishers who need something to keep their brains charged and give them a challenge.  This packet contains a set of six 3 by 3 matrix logic puzzles, six 4 by 4 matrix logic puzzles,  and  6 suduko type shamrock puzzles.  The nice thing about this set is that I have included ALL the  puzzles in both color and black  and white so you can still use them  and save your ink, although I suggest if you use them in a center, you print them out in color on cardstock and laminate them.  But if you want to hand them out as a worksheet, the black and white copy is great!  I even have a student response form where the kiddos can record their answers to the problems, and of course an answer key is provided along with a few helpful hints about teaching matrix logic puzzles.  One teacher wrote me and told  me that she would  put one up on her SmartBoard every morning for her kids to solve.  I suggest you do that if your kids have had  no experience with matrix logic puzzles.   Begin with the whole class doing the 3 by 3 grids and then place the 4 by 4 matrix puzzles in a center.  Below is just a little  sneak  peak. If you’re interested, click on the image to download a preview at my Teachers pay Teachers store!

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That’s all for now!  Remember to always…  Keep ’em Thinking!

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kenkenI have discovered an absolutely wonderful website called KenKen.  People say KenKen’s are like Suduko puzzles on  steroids.  So exactly what is a KenKen?  It’s a numerical puzzles that uses the four basic math operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication,  and division.  The puzzle is laid out on a grid  ranging from 3 by 3 to 9 by 9.  Also, they are available for different levels of complexity.  The most basic use only one operation (addition) and then they add subtraction, and the number of grids can also change.   The great thing about using these puzzles with your students is that it helps improve their math and  logic skills.

If you go to the website, you will find  lots of KenKen puzzles ready for you to download for your kids.  They even have a version that can be played online, a mobile app, and if that isn’t enough, you can sign up to have a new sets of KenKen puzzles delivered to you by email each week!  Many of the gifted teachers in my system have a KenKen center in  their classroom.  But be careful, they’re addicting!  The kiddos can’t seem to get enough of them.  If you click under the section for teachers, they have a pdf file you can send home to teach your kiddo’s parents how to KenKen as well.  So check it out and have fun while challenging your mind and boosting your brain power!

That’s all  for  now!  Remember to always… Keep ’em Thinking!

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Making Sense of Dollars and Sense: A Unit on Money for 2nd Graders

I have been working with some 2nd grade teachers to give them  ideas and resources to challenge their high achievers.  Since money is always such a fun unit to study in math, I decided to create some materials for a study of money.  Of course, I made sure it was aligned to the new Common Core Standards for Math we adopted this year.  This was such a fun unit to create!  I think I got carried away because it ended up being 147 pages long!  Every time I thought I was finished I would have a new idea.  I really tried to create activities that could be differentiated to  meet the needs of all the students, yet challenge the high achievers.    Here are some of the things I included in the unit:

•I Have Who Has game – counting quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies.  Cards in both color and black and white and includes an answer key
•Race for the Money game – students practice adding groups of coins up to $1.00 – includes a game board, player pieces, and spinners
•Give me the Loot game – played like the card game War with 38 cards with values less than $1.00 – Sets of cards in both color and black and white.
•Hunt for Buried Treasure game – played like Bump, students add two different collections of coins to cover treasure chests on a treasure map.
•Trade ‘em Up to Make a Buck game – students trade in coins to make $1.00 – in both color and black and white – includes game board and spinners.
•Same Amount, Different Ways – Students are given a card with an amount of money and must use coins to represent that amount in different ways – black and white.  Includes cards and 2 graphic organizers.  Demonstrates multiple ways to solve a problem.  May be differentiated!
•Mitzi’s Candy Shop – Students use a menu to solve money problems.  Includes menu and  20 question cards.  The cards are in three levels of difficulty so you can differentiate. Includes answer key.
•Mimi’s Diner – This is for your advanced students. Students use a menu to solve money problems greater than $1.00. Includes menu, order cards, and food cards.  Allows for real world application of skills.
•Mystery Money – students are given clues and must use the clues to determine the mystery coins – black and white and includes an answer key.
•Three in a Row game – Challenging!  A game in which students determine how much more money is needed from a given amount to make one dollar.  Includes game board in black and white to be printed out on colored card stock and spinners.
•Spin a Problem – students spin two spinners.  They must then use the amounts on each spinner and the sum of the two amounts to create a word problem which can include either addition or subtraction.
•Math Journal Prompts – 14 different prompts – students are given word problems involving money and must use a math journal page to draw a picture and then write how they solved the problem.  Some prompts involve money amounts greater than $1.00  and two step problems – includes an answer key. Prompts are available as 7 different prompts per page or 7 of the same prompt per page.  Also includes a  math journal graphic organizer.
•Money Fairy Tales – students are given money amounts and must create a fairy tale using those amounts.  Great for incorporating money and writing! – Includes booklet cover and money cards.
I’m really excited about how the unit turned out.  The teachers in the system who are using it say they love it and that the kids are asking for more!  And now they’re asking for me to create more things for them!  I think I am going to be really busy!  Here’s a sneak peak to let you see some of the material in the  unit.
Click on the image and you can download a preview at my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
That’s all for today!  Remember to always Keep ’em Thinking!
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