Why Teach Logic Puzzles?Logic puzzles really strengthen students' ability to read between the lines. Close reading is a skill that is used across subjects.
- When reading a novel, in order to to truly understand a character's motivations the reader has to synthesize everything that is stated about the character and fill in what isn't said.
- In a math word problem, students need to pick out which information is important and how to apply it.
- While writing an essay in social studies or science, students need to comprehend their research, analyze it, and apply it to their topic or thesis.
When to Teach Logic PuzzlesOne of the nice things about logic puzzles is that they are short. Not at first mind you. Until students really understand the strategies used to solved the logic puzzles you will need to make time for them. After the first few puzzles, you will have a few students that completely understand them and can mentor other students. Once most students are independent you can use them in those filler moments - morning work, after recess, after pack up while waiting for the bus, etc. Eventually students just enjoy doing them or even compete to see who can solve them first.
How to Teach Logic PuzzlesIf you are not a natural puzzler, it is important that you practice doing puzzles before trying to teach students. It also helps to use logic puzzles meant for the age group you are teaching.
Logic puzzles really need modeling. Model, model, model. To begin students on logic puzzles, make sure everyone has a puzzle, highlighters/markers, and a pencil. I use the highlighters to help showcase what I am doing. I will switch colors on each step so students can follow along more easily.
When teaching logic puzzles, always start with a puzzle with a grid answer sheet. There are more advanced puzzle that require the solver to create a diagram. These are more complicated in general, and students will get frustrated.
Once everyone is ready, use your projector to show your page to the class. I basically teach the first one as a think aloud. Always start with the introduction. Students always want to skip it, but it sets up the reader to understand what they are trying to figure out. For my example, I am using a logic puzzle from Lindsay Perro. In the introduction, I learned that I need to figure out which child did which activity at which time. So I am trying to connect three pieces of information: name, activity, and time.