Last year a team member introduced me to KenKen puzzles. I thought they were amazing!! They challenge your logic and problem solving skills. But with the demographics of my class last year, I didn’t think they were appropriate extension activities. This year my math kiddies are math wizards. I found these puzzles on Education.com for free!
They start off very basic, with a 3 by 3 puzzle and addition only. The puzzles can include subtraction, division and multiplication as well. The size of the puzzle can increase to 4×4, 5×5, etc. Even though I teach the second grade enrichment class I started off with the most basic puzzle I could find, which ended up being in the first grade section of the site.
My teammate suggested making small number cards to use so that the students could manipulate the puzzle as they complete it. Then, once they were sure they were correct, they could write the numbers in. I sized rectangular boxes to fit in the puzzles from Education.com. I decided to print a set for 3 by 3 puzzles and 4 by 4 puzzles. I will put a set of each in each student’s bag. I will differentiate the color of paper for each puzzle size to make this quick for the kids. As we progress to more difficult puzzles I will print, laminate, and cut more to be added to their bags.
I created an anchor chart to use while introducing the puzzles to the kids. As I went on I realized there was more to add, but I figured I would create one on the computer later on. This is the one we created as I taught.
I enlarged the puzzle I posted earlier in this post to make it easier to work together to complete. I highlighted the edges of each of the “cages” in a different color. I honestly think this is what helped my kids ‘get it’ the most. I had a different kiddie be responsible for each color. I also wrote the numbers we would use on post-its so we could manipulate the puzzle, just as the kids did with their number squares.
After working on this one together and reviewing the new vocabulary we learned, I divided them up into groups of three and they worked on one. They did a FABULOUS job!!! I was so proud 🙂
I also wanted to share the activity I did with my kids for 9/11. Since none of my students were alive for the actual event and because they are so young I didn’t want to dive to deep into what happened. We read Fireboat as a class and focused more on heroes then the idea of terrorism. The students shared who they consider to be their heroes. They did a short writing activity saying why that person is their hero and then created an American flag heart. They turned out so great!