Here are a few puzzles to add to your collection. Or, your "Table of Torture" as Sam Sikes likes to call his collection of puzzles. Sam puts out his puzzles on a table for his participants to tackle before his program starts (the "soft" start) and during program breaks. In a programming sense, puzzles can provide another level of challenge and they also bring people together during down times (and of course they are fun to solve!).
I've been using puzzles more and more lately with some of the (respectfully) competitive programs I've been leading for Group Dynamix (I'm one of their contract facilitators - we run Team Olympix events for groups that want a more competitive experience). Puzzles are a nice complement to the more physical challenges - reaching different learning styles or "kinds of smarts."
Scramble Cards This Puzzling post was inspired by my last post - Name Card Scramble. After saving the cards from a few programs I realized I had a great set of puzzle cards (some of my participants were even able to anagram their name - so cool!). On the back of each scrambled name card I wrote the "name-answer" using a yellow highlighter so it would not be easily seen through the front of the card. A group working together (or an individual) can self check their guess/answer by flipping the card over. Score each correct answer OR time how long it takes to guess all the scrambled names - add five seconds to the overall time for each incorrect answer. Here's a little list for you to work with if you want to make a quick set of (index) cards to try out (spoiler alert - answers are below):
(How long did it take you to recognize the pattern? What name were you on when it clicked?)
(Answers: 1. Andrew, 2. Becky, 3. Chris, 4. Debby, 5. Evan, 6. Frank, 7. Georgia, 8. Heather, 9. Ivan, 10. Jennifer, 11. Kevin, 12. Laura)
The "T" Puzzle If you are a Tangram fan (and haven't seen this one), you'll like the T. It's easy to make (paper or wood) but tricky to solve. And, like Tangrams, you can create a bunch of other shapes/images with the pieces. I like to give points (e.g., 50) to my groups for solving the "T" and then (e.g., 10) points for each of the shapes they can solve from the (self-scored) handout I provide. Here's a GREAT PDF from WoodPuzzles.com that includes a nice handout. (If you search "T Puzzle" in Google Images there are a few patterns you can download for cutting assistance.)
Word Games and Puzzles by Joan Acosta (from bestofthereader.ca). I've been getting some great milage from this PDF BOOK. Easy to print and laminate the pages. Provide some small tipped dry-erase markers so participants can write in answers on the page - self score or make a quick check before giving a score. Wipe off the answers from the pages so you can reuse the puzzles for another program.
Have fun out there!
What are you favorite puzzles? Share in the comments below.....
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This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.
Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.