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Monday, May 11, 2009

That is highly illogical, captain

Since there are only 3 weeks (and change) of school left, I thought I would stop having a Problem of the Day word problem as my bell ringer activity and switch to something more fun. Of course, I suppose I should have remembered that fun is in the brain of the beholder.

I've got a set of overhead transparencies of logic puzzles. You know the ones -- Bozo, Schmozo, and Jimbo own a dog, a cat, and a giraffe. You get clues and fill in a grid to determine which pet goes with which kid.

Personally, I have always LOVED logic puzzles like this. Of course, I love math also, so call me screwy. When I've done logic puzzles with my 3rd graders in the past, they've enjoyed them as well.

Maybe my kids will grow into them. However, the first day was not reason to celebrate their arrival.

The first puzzle in the set involves 3 boys having their birthday parties at 3 different places. I explained to the kids how they needed to copy the grid that showed the boys' names and the place names. We read the first clue together, which said something along the lines of "Richie, and the boy who had his party at the roller rink, are best friends."

I then asked the kids, "So what does this clue tell us about Richie or the other boys?"

Several hands went into the air. I called on one of my brighter little girls.

"It tells us that they are very excited about having their birthday parties?"

"Um, they probably are, but remember we're trying to figure out WHERE each boy is having his party."

I called on another kid.

"They are happy?"

OK, I thought, this is not going in the right direction. Maybe if, instead of party locations, the top part of the grid showed emotions like Happy, Excited, and Manic-Depressive, THEN we'd be getting somewhere.

But still I pressed on. "The boys are all happy and excited, but we are looking for a clue to WHERE the boys are having their parties. What do you think?"

"I think they will have their parties at a house because those places are too expensive."

By this time, I am just about making "gagaga" sounds, flapping my lips with my finger, when finally another little girl got the clue and offered the right piece of information from the clue.

Despite the rough first outing, I am determined to stay the course here. I always thought puzzles like this really exercise the brain, and I have some kids whose brains seem to be morbidly obese.

As long as we can get past frugality and emotions...

8 comments:

jbuttars said...

LOL! My 6th graders have been known to demonstrate the exact same logical thinking skills! You are not alone. :)

Katie said...

Keep at it, I think your kids are demonstrating pretty clearly why they really need to learn this stuff!

Angelica said...

I used to LOVE doing these as a kid but I also loved math. I hope your kids get around to enjoying them as well.

lady said...

I love logic puzzles. I am even working on a few for my second graders (pets and owners and such).

When I was in fourth grade my teacher did minimal information puzzles with us. We had to ask yes or no questions to get to the answer. I think now you can buy books called lateral thinking puzzles that are the same thing. The one I remember most is "A bell tolled and a man died" (much hard when you only know the word told).

Mister Teacher said...

A little bit of an update. We've done them for a couple of days now, and the kids are getting MUCH better at them, so that's promising.

Lady, I LOVED puzzles like that too! Like "There was a man who left home one day, took a short walk, and returned home only to find a masked man waiting for him."
I like to call those "WTF puzzles."

Melissa B. said...

It's just like you say in your book...if you can't get them to read the problem, how are they ever gonna get it? Believe it or not, I have the same problema with 17-year-olds. No one wants to read anymore. They want Mommy/Daddy teacher to figure it out for them!

Jason said...

I like those types of problems. They are called Mindbenders here. We use them in the G/T program. Math is the only part of the LEAP I am confident I did well on. I am always apprehensive at open response in the other projects. Tune in monday when we find out and when I give the other good news.


They help with math like reading does.

loonyhiker said...

Most of my conversations with my self contained special ed class are like this. LOL They always make me smile (when I'm over the frustration that is). That is why I love teaching so much!