Friday, March 27, 2015

Keep 'em Thinking! With Easter Theme Logic Puzzles

   Hello everyone and welcome to FREEBIE Friday!  I'm Susan Morrow, and I blog over at Keep 'em Thinking!  I am so excited to be part of iTeach Second!   My background is in teaching gifted and talented students, and currently in my position as the gifted coordinator for my system, I am working with general education teachers on ways to incorporate critical and creative thinking into the general education classroom for ALL students. 
   For my very first post I want to talk about teaching logic to primary students, and to share a set of 18 free Easter themed logic puzzles for primary students.  All of the puzzles I am sharing today on this post can be found in my Easter Themed Beginning Logic Puzzles and Activities. To get your FREE copy, just click on the cover below.
   I know if you're like most teachers, state testing is right around the corner.  I can't tell you how many times I've had teachers tell me that they are having a hard time preparing their students for the higher level questions we now find on state tests. 
   State tests have changed dramatically over the past several years.  Our students are expected to be able to analyze, evaluate, infer, compare and contrast information, and make deductions in order to answer the questions on the tests. The primary grades are perfect to introduce these critical thinking skills.  For one thing, primary students have not developed a fixed mindset and will persevere if they don't get an answer correct on the first try.  Logic puzzles are a great way to teach critical thinking skills while teaching reading and math skills. 
   To begin teaching logic to my students,  I like to begin with matrix logic puzzles with only 3 grids.  These puzzles don't have as many variables which is good for beginners.Having your students solve logic problems encourages them to talk about their thinking or reasoning.  "If Johnny is taller than Sue, but shorter than Bill, then Johnny can't be the tallest or the shortest kid in the class." 
I begin by having the kiddos put "no" or "yes" in the boxes as they read the clues. One thing the kiddos will quickly realize is that when there are two "no's" in a column or row, then the last box must be a "yes" and vice versa.  One skill you may not realize you are teaching when you have your students complete a matrix logic puzzle, is they are actually learning how to work on a grid which will be important later on in math.
   It is easy to make your own matrix logic puzzles.  You don't have to have pictures in the grids, you can just use words.  Matrix logic puzzles can be used to reinforce concepts learned in your classroom.  In math, you can make matrix logic puzzles for money and students have to figure out how much money each person has.  How about positions - before, after, above, below, between, behind, and in front of?  You can make logic puzzles for geometric shapes, time, elapsed time, greater than and less than, place value...  the possibilities are only limited by the skills you are teaching. I don't know about your kids, but mine would rather do logic puzzles with place value or money any time rather than a worksheet of problems covering the same skills.  They view the logic puzzles as a challenge and a game, and they LOVE to figure them out.
     In Language Arts, you can make logic puzzles for vocabulary, synonyms and antonyms, parts of speech, number of syllables, and making inferences from visual and verbal clues in the puzzles.  One thing I love to do when making my own logic puzzles, is to use the names of students in the class.  The kiddos really get a kick out of seeing their names in the puzzles.
   As the students get proficient at solving matrix logic puzzles, you will need to increase the complexity.  You can include puzzles with four or five grids, and even more complex puzzles will have 10 or more grids going both horizontally and vertically. 
   Another type of logic puzzle that I like are Sudoku type puzzles.  You can find these with both numbers and pictures.  I particularly like these puzzles for students who have difficulty reading or English is a second language.  Language should never be a barrier to teaching reasoning.
Magic Squares are another fun way to introduce logical reasoning.  Did you know that Benjamin Franklin loved to solve magic squares?

You can make a 3 by 3 grid and then have cards with the numbers 1-9.  The kiddos have to put the numbers in the square so that the sum of each column, row, and diagonal equals 15.  You can also make magic squares for other numbers. If you have a 3 by 3 grid, your target number must be a multiple of 3 such as 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, etc.   I usually stop at 30 for the little ones, but your older students will love making huge magic squares.  You can make them with 4 by 4 grids and larger. 
   I hope you have a fun time with logic puzzles with your students!  I'm looking forward to returning soon with more fun ways to incorporate creative and critical thinking in your classroom.  Just remember to always... Keep 'em Thinking!


  1. What a great freebie! I have loved doing these my whole life! I just spent Spring Break with a book of them!
    Thanks for sharing such a great freebie with our readers!
    Have a great weekend,
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith - Author at iTeachSecond!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  2. What a great idea, Susan! I love these, and I think students in upper elementary might benefit too with these. I think skills like this carry over into other subject matter (drawing conclusions or categorizing). Will give these a try as my activator one day.

  3. What a great idea, Susan! I love these, and I think students in upper elementary might benefit too with these. I think skills like this carry over into other subject matter (drawing conclusions or categorizing). Will give these a try as my activator one day.

  4. Susan..great idea! Thanks for the fun packet! My kiddos will love the logic puzzles! Thanks again! Wendy 1stgradefireworks 1stgradefireworks

  5. I absolutely love these! I have a feeling some of my kiddos who may not shine in other areas will be very successful at these because of the way they think! I'm also going to give them a try to help my students work on persevering - it's so hard to always hear,, "I can't do this!" and have students give up. The skills they need for these puzzles will help them in so man other areas. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful freebie! ~ Lisa

  6. What an awesome freebie for spring! Thanks so much for sharing! :)