Site icon Laura Randazzo – Solutions for the Secondary Classroom

Mess With Their Minds

Time to add some challenging fun to your classroom routine with Brain Teasers for teens! First, give these head-scratchers a try:

When you’re ready, scroll down for the answers.
Now, did you really give yourself time to think through the answers?

Challenging, no? There are many different ways you might want to use these slides in your classroom, including:

1. Use as a routine bell-ringer activity to begin class one day each week. I use these as Brain Teaser Tuesdays (I enjoy alliteration), but they’ll work great any day of the week.

2. Use them to soak up those occasional last few minutes of a class period when a daily lesson wraps up more quickly than you planned.

3. Use them as part of an ongoing team activity/contest that runs a full nine-week quarter. Each nine weeks, one of my colleagues sorts her classes into teams of three students. Then, students occasionally compete against the other teams throughout the quarter in review games, grammar skill-builders, and these sorts of brain games. She keeps a running tally of the teams’ names and earned points, updating her website each week with the class standings. As the quarter rolls along, her room starts to feel a little like Hogwarts (“Ten points for Gryffindor!”) and the teens really love it. To keep every team engaged, she uses makeshift whiteboards with page protectors, a piece of white paper, and a dry erase marker, which gives all of the teams time to formulate their answers before the answer is revealed. This helps encourage buy-in for all players since the game is not a race – the first team to answer doesn’t earn more points than any other correctly answering team. At the end of the quarter, the winning team wins a prize or bonus points in the gradebook.

4. Use the slides as a reward for classes that hit certain benchmarks or goals.

There are 38 questions (and answers) in each volume, allowing you to use two questions per weekly session or one question two times a week in a semester. (Note: Questions #1 and #2 above are from my Vol. 1 bundle, while #3 and #4 are from Vol. 2.) Most semesters run 18 weeks but I threw in a couple of extra questions just in case there’s one or two you don’t like/want to skip.

In my class, I use just one question to begin class every Tuesday, but I switch up the question for my later classes because my teens love to blab the answer at lunchtime to their friends in my afternoon classes. (Don’t they have anything better to talk about than my class? Sheesh.) You also could work from the beginning of the bundle with one class and work from the end of the bundle with a different class, just to keep students on their toes.

However you choose to use these slides, I hope they find a place in your teacher’s toolbox of activities as you work to help your teens develop word sense, lateral thinking, and those oh-so-important logic skills.

Teach on, everyone!

UPDATE: By popular demand, a third and fourth volume of Brain Teasers are also now available. Click here for Vol. 3 and here for Vol. 4. Enjoy!

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