1. 1. Mr. and Mrs. Boo have two sons. Each of them has a sister. How many kids are there in Boo’s family?
This took SO long for them to understand (even though I think it was a good warm-up and exercise because it made them think- I try to make all the problems like that, but that doesn’t always work out). Even after I hinted them for so long that we got to the answer, they took some time to understand. To check their understand, I asked “If there were 1000 brothers and each one had a sister, how many sisters would there be?” and I found out that they didn’t really understand the first problem, because at first, they again yelled “1000!” but after a couple of minutes they understood.
1. 2. Construct three non-intersecting routes from the gates to the houses. Each gate should be connected to a house with the same number as the number on the gate.
I think that this was a good exercise because they had to think about what they were going to do before they did it, and they had to visualize where the paths were going to be. They actually found three different solutions to this puzzle, which was surprising, because I only found one when I was solving it (not that I spent too much time on it, but still).
3. Continue the pattern.
Since this was the first class of this year, I think that this was a good problem to make the kids think back to what we did the previous year with patterns, and it took like 5-10 minutes for them to solve this problem. I think the kids grew up a lot since last year (a year is a lot for them, since they are only 5-6 years old) because when somebody didn’t understand the problem, instead of me having to go and explain it to them, other kids went and helped (without being told to do so). Also, they didn’t fool around as much (even though a couple were a little shy because they haven’t done this in a while or seen any of the kids (and me) in some time.
4. There are 6 fish in a fish tank– 4 blue fish, 3 green fish and 1 purple fish. How many of these fish can each say that it is the same color as another one?
After a minute or two they figured it out (I actually used poker chips of different colors for this problem to represent the fish. A nice joke when they solved the problem “Actually, I was tricking you all along. The answer’s zero! Have you ever heard of talking fish?!”
1. 5. What do you see?
This was nice because the kids were all starting to get tired and their attention was drifting, and I passed this picture around the table and asked very person to describe what they saw (and then I explained it was an illusion so it can look like two things at once, and I explained how it was made/how it worked), so every person had to pay attention.
1. 6. 2 penguins were sitting on ice – a big penguin and a little penguin. The little penguin was the son of the big penguin, but the big penguin was not his father. How do you explain this?
It took them a couple of minutes to solve this problem (they clearly didn’t understand the problem at first because they said that the big penguin might be an older sister or brother). This surprised me, because actually, we did the same exact problem last year, except it was with dentists instead of penguins (I guess those are two completely different problems for the kids). I kind of used this problem to check how much the kids remember from the previous year. After they solved the problem, I asked them “Do you remember doing this same problem last year with the dentists?” And they answered “Dentists?! Are you crazy? How are dentists and penguins at all similarJ?”
I thought we would fit in many more problems in this class (I prepared about twice more), but since it was the first class of the year, I guess it took some time for them to adjust back to this type of thinking ( now that they are going to school, they are getting used to straightforward thinking).