Posts Tagged ‘ critical thinking activities ’

Math Dice Game: Mmm Brains

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

With Halloween right around the corner it seems only fitting that I bring up this game, Mmm Brains. It sounds gruesome, but it’s really just a dice game which requires addition and multiplication.  It brings the kids running, so you can’t beat that, right?!

This game has five dice with the numbers 1-5 and a brain on each side.  Then there are lots of counters (red brains=5 and white brains=1). Finally, for the second phase of the game there are color cards.

First Phase of the Game:

In the first part of the game, players take turns tossing the five dice. The object is to gather as many points as you can. You have to collect one color numbers and as many brains (of any color) as you can. You get 3 rolls on your turn.

Then you add the numbers together and multiply that by the number of brains you have:

Here’s another example: If on your turn you collected a yellow 3 and a yellow 2 and three brains, they you would get 5 x 3 or 15 points.

Or, if another player got a blue 4 and blue 3 and just one brain then he would get 7 x 1 or 7 brains.

Phase 2:

During the second phase of the game each player chooses a color card.  Players take turns trying to steal brains away from the other players. On Player 1′s turn he would toss the dice. He would then look at the dice and take that number of brains away from a player with the same color card.

In the picture below DD rolled a green 1 and a green 3. She targeted ED who has to give her 4 white brains:

The game ends when only one player has brains left or when Mom says it’s time to go!!

Add a Comment

Games for Thinking and Learning: Lab Mice

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

This is a series about the logic and critical thinking games we play in our homeschool.  We have a table in our homeschool room and I rotate in new games a couple of times a week. These are all games we’ve acquired for schooling (I haven’t received them to review).  Back in September I explained…

Why games?

  • They’re fun.
  • They can be challenging and helps kids (and adults!) apply creative strategies to problem solve.
  • They can sharpen the ability to focus and can help increase attention span.
  • They can help with visual perception.
  • Games can sharpen logic and critical thinking skills.
  • For the younger kids games can help with number, letter, and shape recognition; grouping; and counting.
  • Some of the games promote problem-solving.
  • Games can trigger creativity and innovation.
  • They can promote social skills such as taking turns and being a good sport.
  • Games can help children to lose graciously.
  • They can teach perseverance and not to give up. You might be losing, but with a twist of fate you can suddenly come out on top!

Today I’m going to highlight a game called Lab Mice.

 This game comes with a set of cards and a dry erase marker.  The object is to connect all the mice to their cheese (red mouse to red cheese) without crossing any other mouse’s path.

What a HUGE hit this game was with the kids.  We all love this game and there are so many levels it keeps all of us (including me!) thinking and trying to work out the solution!

We chose to put the cards into our dry erase activity center just to make sure the cards stay pristine.

Even ED worked on the puzzles, though as you can see she didn’t quite get the idea that only one mouse could go through each square.

This has been part of a series called Games for Thinking and Learning. You can see past posts by going to Categories in the right sidebar and selecting “Games.”


Add a Comment

Games for Thinking and Learning: Set

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

This is a series about some of games we include in our homeschool. Set is a fast paced card game that requires the players to think quickly and logically.  Set is a fairly easy game to learn to play and can be played by one or more players.

To play, we laid out twelve cards.  Each card contains one of three symbols (squiggles, diamonds, ovals) in varying numbers (up to three), colors (purple, green, red), and degrees of shading. You have to make a set with the characteristics being all the same or all different.

Below we have three ovals with the same number and shape, and all three have different colors.

While here the cards have the same number and shape, but different shading.

And here we have the same outline color and the same number, but different shapes.

This was recommended for ages 6 and up.  DD, LD and I had a lot of fun playing it. At first it was too difficult for ED (4), but now about 4 weeks later she seems to have the hang of it. We liked this game so much, we chose this to bring on our trip!

Add a Comment

Games for Thinking and Learning: Zoologic

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Sorry, I had to bump this post back a day because I wanted to honor the mission team from the Mars Exploration Program – and talk about how we (the public) have benefited from the technology spinoffs we derived from the space program. Now on to logic games!

This is a series about some of logic and critical thinking games we include in our homeschool. You can see the first post about here that explains why we include games in our homeschool. Last week I highlighted Acuity and Clever Castle.

My sister passed along another thinking game to us last summer. It’s called Zoologic. DD (age 6) has been the one most drawn to this game. ED hasn’t quite had the patience for it.

Players have to determine where to put the animals (dog, cat and mouse) and food (bone, fish and cheese) while adhering to the rules:

  • A dog cannot be placed next to a bone or a cat
  • A cat cannot be placed next to a dog, a fish or a mouse
  • A mouse cannot be placed next to a cheese or a cat

As the game progresses new obstacles are introduced such as hungry ants or an angry bull.

  • Animals cannot go on top of an angry bull.
  • Food cannot be placed on top of ants.

LD quickly joined in on the fun!

You might enjoy other posts in this series: Games for Thinking and Learning.  Go to Categories in the right sidebar and select “Games.”

Add a Comment

Critical Thinking Activities

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Earlier this semester my friend and I were chatting about math.  She said that every Friday they include some critical thinking activities. I thought that was a terrific idea and back in late February I ordered some materials. We added some of these activities into our schedule as well.  We generally include critical thinking once a week, but sometimes we skip a week depending on our schedule.

Sudoku: The kids did Sudoku puzzles for the first time this semester.  A First Sudoku Book is a really great place to start. We’ve gone through the entire book in the past few months.  If you don’t know anything about Sudoku, you have to use the numbers 1-4 (in the book on the left) or 1-6 ( in the book on the right) in each square, row and column. You cannot have the same number in any square, row or column. Once your child has mastered the four-square puzzles she can move on to six squares.

In order for multiple kids to use these (or for the kids to do the puzzle over again) we took the books apart and slip them into the dry erase activity center. Once LD mastered the 4-square Sudoku puzzles he set off on the 6-square puzzles in  Sudoku Puzzles for Kids.

Analogies: At the scholastic dollar days back a few months ago, I bought a number of analogy books.  Obviously I only paid a dollar for these. Hey! I see the Anaologies Grade 2-3 and Analogies Grade 4-5 are on sale once again for $1.00 (post written on Friday 5/18). I printed out the grade 2-3 analogies and put them in a notebook. LD finds them much too easy (but I didn’t print out anything from the next level yet), DD absolutely loves them (and finds them easy as well).

Logic: We’ve used a number of printouts from the Teacher File Box this semester. LD (age 8) was able to figure these out, but they were tough for DD (age 6):

We also got this book, Logic Safari. Again LD was able to do these on his own, but DD often needed help:

We also got some Critical Thinking Card Games which has a selection of different kinds of activity card — think about it, riddles, fact or fiction, how can you tell? and other thought-provoking question cards.

That’s about it.  Do your kids enjoy working through critical thinking puzzles?

Add a Comment