Thursday, June 23, 2011

Think Tank

I had this brilliant idea in the middle of the night. (That is the hour that genius strikes, correct?)

A couple of years ago, when Toa first started showing an interest in chess, I tried starting our school day with a simple pawn game or chess puzzle. That worked well for a while, but then began to quagmire for lack of variety OR because simple chess puzzles evolved into full out games which meant no other school was getting done before lunch.

I want to reinstate this practice in some form. Not in the same form, obviously, since that hadn't worked out so well for us. But, I still feel that starting the day with a little brain stimulating exercise has merit.

The solution? (I hope.)

The Think Tank

The Think Tank shall be a container containing a pocket folder for each child, as well as other materials, to be rotated in and out. In the folders each week shall be five challenges, puzzles, brain teasers, math word problems, tangrams, or other activities.

At 8 o'clock (hey, I was nearly dreaming), the Think Tank comes out. Each child picks one challenge from their folder. If they solve it in 5 minutes, fine. If they take 30 minutes and its still not solved, fine. If they finish before 8:30, they may have some free choice time to read, draw, or do any other approved activity.

If they spend the full time on it, and need more time, they'll have to wait and come back to it either the following day or later in their free time if they'd like to. (Or, they can put it away, curse Fibonacci and his rabbits, and never look at it again that week.) After 15 minutes of working on it, they can ask for help if they'd like some. OR after 15 minutes, they can change their mind and pick a different challenge. But I think we are going to set the rule that you must try to solve it yourself for 15 minutes.

With that in mind, I'm starting to scour the internet for challenges that can be printed and put in the Think Tank folders.

Here are a few chess puzzles.  I like these online chess puzzles as well. I've just given myself permission to put online link cards in the Think Tank folder.

Here's a great list of sites which have different brain teasers for kids. And here's a similar list for gifted teens.

And a few more sites with brainteasers.

Math problems just for Sweetling. Fibonacci and his rabbits are not alone.

A scattering of logic or math problems for Toa. And more kids math puzzles.

I have a workbook of Daily Language Workouts which I can toss in for Sweetling.

And of course, a regular Lego Challenge needs to go in for Toa.

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