About two years into my tenure as a teacher in Japan, I came up with an idea. It involved a lot of planning, some trial and error, and a big stack of flashcards. When I finished, I went up to a fellow teacher and asked: “Can you solve this?” He looked at me, a skeptical expression on his face.
“Are you going to give a logic puzzle to your students?”
I was, and I did. Logic puzzles can be tricky—even when presented in your native tongue!—so to give one, in English, to Japanese elementary students was maybe a little ambitious. But they loved it! The brightest ones especially took to it like fish to water. One group even managed to solve it.
Kids love logic puzzles. Both deductive and inductive puzzles can be used to strengthen students' thinking skills. Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles are a good source for the former, and Interview Puzzles has examples of the latter. Gifted students in particular often display a propensity for inductive thinking, and Byrdseed has lots of resources on the subject, including a brief overview, inductive math games, and advice on using it with spelling and vocabulary.
Education World suggests a puzzle a day to help bolster students’ critical thinking skills and has a host of resources to help incorporate them into your lessons. And of course, we offer plenty of books to help improve kids’ thinking skills from an early age, including the Lollipop Logic series, Logic Safari, and Logic Countdown.