Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Ha! Brainteaser Kit...Problem Solving Perseverance!

It's no secret that I'm a fan of ThinkFun games and activities. So I was pretty excited to receive the A Ha! Brainteaser Kit for review. 

The kit contains 8 colorful, plastic brainteasers designed to exercise problem-solving muscles. Each brainteaser comes with four cards; the first describes the objective and the next three provide clues on how to solve the problem.  

Uses: Individual & Classroom
The kit arrived right before my 11yo son and I left for our weekly allergy shots. We opened it in the office and alternated puzzles. My son started with "Starburst," handing it to me after a ten-minute attempt. I tried. Kept trying. Thought to myself...come on...this is designed for Grades 2-8...YOU...CAN...DO...THIS. Then, seriously, this phrase started going through my head (think Nagini to Harry Potter):
CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1 Make sssssense of problemsssss and persssssevere in ssssssolving them.
And like the little engine that could (or the middle age math teacher putting Ssssstandardsssss into Practiccccce), I DID IT! And, no, I didn't look at all the clues. Well, maybe one clue.

Starburst Puzzle with Cards
See! I did it!
Next, I introduced the kit to my 5th grade math class as a transition activity. The result? Kids frequently pick them up. Since all of our current Math Stations require partners, it's been nice for times when I have an odd number of students. Early finishers also challenge themselves with the kits.

I've encouraged students to delay use of the hint cards (especially hints 2 & 3) as long as possible. When students work in pairs, they can discuss their problem solving strategies, thereby providing one another with hints of their own. Although I haven't done this yet, I may put out 2-3 kits on a rotating basis to use for transitions/Math Stations/early finishers and ONLY include the objective card.

Other Thoughts:
While the kit suggests use in Grades 2-8, I think it's most appropriate for gifted students in the lower grades. My 7yo first grader asked to participate along with me and my 11yo son. After about 30 minutes on a single puzzle, I began congratulating myself on my 7yos amazing attention span. Then he burst out crying. He was SO UPSET that he couldn't figure it out. (Bit of a perfectionist?) I put that puzzle away, but he immediately wanted to try another, so I guess it wasn't too traumatizing.

I love this kit. I will use it with my own kids as well as my students.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free kit by ThinkFun for the purpose of review. This did not influence my opinion. Although I do appreciate the freebie!  If you order from Amazon, all commissions go toward foster care through Grace and Hope at no additional cost to you. THANK YOU!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving me a message. I love comments almost as much as I love chocolate! And I do LOVE chocolate. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Blogging tips