Brain Candy

This past summer, I decided to add more playfulness to my classroom routine (read more about Quarter Trios here) and one of the mainstays of the new “game plan” is the use of weekly Brain Teasers. Originally, I had planned to use just one puzzler each week, either as part of a bell-ringer routine or as an emergency “ack, third period just finished this task 10 minutes faster than all of my other classes” time-filler.

Deep into the fall semester, the reality has been that we use at least three of these slides each week, both as sponge activities and as an end-of-the-week treat to start class on Fridays. The kids love the brain play and I’m a bit surprised at how much I love channeling my inner Bob Barker.

Since I’m using a few more slides each week than I had originally planned and I need to make sure I have enough questions when the long slog of April and May arrive, I just finished building a third volume of Brain Teasers.

Okay, folks, it’s game time…

Think these two puzzlers through and scroll down when you’re ready to reveal the answers.
You really tried, right?


You wouldn’t just zip down to the answer slides without stretching that gray matter, would you? Okay, then…
2If you’re enjoying Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 with your classes, be sure to check out Vol. 3.
Or if you just want to chew on four more sample slides, click here.

Teach on, everyone!

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8 years ago

How much time do you give them to figure out the brain teaser? I find that many of my kiddos shut down after a few seconds when the answer is not readily apparent.

Laura Randazzo
8 years ago
Reply to  Nancy

Hey Nancy, thanks for checking in with me. The time I give them to answer varies a bit. For the easier questions, we move pretty fast. Maybe a minute or two for teams to decide their answer and write it down. For the more complicated/challenging ones, the kids will get more like four minutes, I’d say. I like to wait until I see that at least two of the teams have the answer (they hide their answers with their hands on our makeshift small whiteboards but I can still take a peek) and then I give the five-second countdown before the answer reveal. Having the students work in groups of three and having super-competitive classes has definitely helped with engagement. So far, nobody’s checked out, even on the real stumpers. I definitely recommend groups, which I always assign. That way, I can make sure I have a lower-level student with stronger teammates and break apart the ones who I know will fall off-task too quickly. Hope this helps! 🙂

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