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Do you use puzzles in your classroom? Do you have a great idea for combining them with your curriculum? If so, we'd love to hear about it! Teachers are the best source of development for this project, and every voice counts. Please email us at teachers@ThinkFun.com and tell us your story about how you use puzzles in the classroom, or how you would like to, to further the learning process. If you're doing something worthwhile, we'll publish it so everyone can learn from your experiences!

If you're willing to give us more in-depth comments, visit our Questionnaire page and have a look at a number of more specific questions we have. Thanks!

(One question in this detail section: This section will feature collections of puzzles that we recommend for classroom use. If you have your own ideas for puzzle sets that work particularly well together, please let us know and we'll publish your ideas as well. Write us at teachers@ThinkFun.com.)

From: Karen

I am a Special Education teacher in Mount Vernon, Washington. I found that most of my students lack the ability to visualize and plan. I have many of the Binary Arts games and puzzles to teach them these skills. This summer I was in British Columbia, Canada and purchased some new puzzles. My kids are excited about all of the new games I purchased and can't wait to play them.

Thank you,

Karen
From: A. Regan
Subject: Math Puzzles

Last year I ran a volunteer program for 5th grade math students. We focused on explorations in math, with a different project each meeting.

I came to sessions prepared with puzzles for students to use if they finished their projects before the others. Specifically, I brought "shape by shape®", "block by block®" and "izzi® 2" for their spacial relationship properties. The students loved to challenge each other, and were eager to finish their "work" so they could "play". They didn't want to hear from me that the play was teaching them as much as the work!
From:  Boumediene Hamidi
Subject: What Are Educational Puzzles

I really think that any puzzle is an educational one. Check for example this one which I usually ask some students. The last student I gave this puzzle was a grade nine:

The puzzle is: there were 10 birds on a tree, a hunter saw them and pointed his rifle to the tree and pulled the trigger, 6 birds fell down.

Question: How many birds stayed on the tree ?

This puzzle gives the students the opportunity to develop a reasoning process to think well before making that mathematical subtraction.
From: Odette De Meulemeester
Subject: Pentominoes

I use succesfull pentominopuzzles in the classroom

You can find it on our site http://www.pentomino.be.tf/, but most of the problems we must still translate them, but our English is bad so we needs time, but you can see them on the Dutch= Nederlands version and I think you can understand many things because of the drawings. If you take Awards and then under the photo there is Handout boekje and you can see what I do with this pentominoes in class. You can also put Records and then Opgave and then you got the problems . There are also many "opdrachten".

I'm very enthousiast about it so I like to share it. I look for questions
Odette De Meulemeester (math teacher; students 14-15 years)
From: Joanne Duldig
Subject: computers in English

Dear fellow educators...

In my classroom I have a pod of 6 networked computers. I have children who have started school at various times this year so I have divided them into 6 ability groups. In my English lessons I have activities for the 6 groups every day over a period of 2 weeks and one of these activities is online games for each group of children. I have searched the net and found suitable games for each level and have lessons for 3 terms at a time. It was very very very time consuming finding the lessons but it was worth it. They are all practical, fun and give my children the use of ICT as a tool for English

Jo Duldig
Seaclif Primary School
South Australia
Australia
From: Laura Cihlar
Subject: Thank you!

I just wanted to let you know that I teach 7th grade language arts. Last year I bought 3 of your puzzles (Shape by Shape, Block by Block, and Brick by Brick) and used them in a learning center in my classroom that I called "What's puzzling you?". If the class earned free time on Friday or if students were finished with their work they had the option of playing the puzzles. Let me tell you that this was the most popular activity in my classroom. Students would ask for free time to play puzzles and even worked hard to earn it on Fridays! I was proud to see my teenage students sharing and working together to solve these puzzles. I was also proud to discover that after an entire year of use not one single piece was missing! These puzzles appealed to all levels (we practice inclusion in my district). Students would even play them in homeroom when they could have been talking instead! Little do they know that while they are having fun they are enhancing their problem-solving skills and using logic.

I decided to buy three more puzzles this summer (Rush Hour®, FlipItTM, and Hoppers®) to add to my center. I am almost finished mastering all the Rush Hour cards myself!

Not only do I want to thank you for developing these puzzles but I really want to thank you for the teacher specials! Often companies do not realize the amount of money teachers spend on classroom supplies. Thanks to your thoughtfulness I added five more puzzles (including Smart Mouth which fits in nicely as a language arts game) to my center for this coming school year!

Thank you!!!!!!!!!

Laura Cihlar
 Last Updated: June 5, 2007 top