Saturday, November 1, 2014

Using Logic Puzzles to Improve Students' Thinking

My kids LOVE puzzles and games.  Any kind of puzzles, really.  And I love to get my kids to turn OFF their screens for a little while and actually think their own creative and logical thoughts.

That's why I LOVE logic puzzles.

Logic puzzles test students’ critical thinking in a fun way. They challenge students to read, organize and analyze information to solve an interesting problem.
 As soon as a kid is able to read, he can start to read simple clues for beginner logic puzzles. Then they learn how to think about the sentences they read in a new way. The answers to the puzzle questions never explicitly appear in the clues, so they must be inferred. The student concludes that something is true because something else is true, not because it is directly stated.

Solving logic puzzles helps develop critical thinking skills important in all subjects and helps students learn to rely upon their own ability to reason. Students who can solve logic problems have greater confidence in being able to tackle problems to which the answers are not immediately evident.

The inferential thinking needed to solve logic puzzles is so heavily relied upon that it is used in all sorts of important tasks. Entrance exams for college, law school and graduate programs, including the LSAT and GRE, routinely include examples of inferential thinking, even directly presenting logic puzzles to solve.

Logic puzzles can be suitable for young children as soon as they are able to read the clues. By including more variables, puzzles can be challenging for older or more experienced solvers.

I use puzzles frequently in my classroom.  The students LOVE them.  They work hard to finish their class assignments so that they can have the time to solve a puzzle.

I often provide puzzles at several levels of difficulty for my students to complete. They can choose on their own which puzzle is right for their abilities. Sometimes the puzzles are related to the academic information we’re working on in class, but often not. The puzzles are their own lesson – training for the students’ brains.

If you'd like to try logic puzzles with your own students, but aren't sure where - or how - to begin, check out this free instruction guide from my TPT store.  It's got a puzzle included inside too, and step-by-step instructions on how to solve it.

And for more experienced puzzle solvers, try these original puzzles in several degrees of difficulty:


Please stop back and let us know how your students like these puzzles.


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