1. (name of student) (animal) is always sneezing before it rains. Today it is sneezing. “It is going to rain” – thinks (name of student). Is he/she correct?
First I asked who had a pet, and nobody did, except Katya, who said she had a horse (she had a play horse). So I used the horse as an example. It took them some time, and they argued a little with each other (which I think is very good for them, as long as it’s peaceful arguing). Since they didn’t solve it for some time at first, I “simplified” the problem for them by saying that it’s Dima who is yawning before it rains. Katya said “If he is yawning, he should be going to sleep, not predicting rain.” J We did the same problem last year except with Dima eating chocolate and being happy (they obviously didn’t remember it).
2. Put 8 toys around a rectangular table so that each of the sides has 3 toys.
We had a small table and we did this problem by placing 8 poker chips around the perimeter of the table. After a few minutes, they figured out that they could put the poker chips in the corners and that would count for two sides instead of one.
3. Arrange the dominoes how it is done above (grey) so the sum of every side is the same.
I cut out these dominoes (you can use really ones also) and asked them to solve it by putting it in the formation above with every side having the same sum. But they are still very little, and counting to numbers like 15 AND having to figure out how to add the other ones together to get that number is too hard for them, so after a few minutes I told them that each side had to add up to 12, and then in a minute or two they figured it out.
4. There is a power outage, and everything is dark. I know there is a drawer in the room. There are 8 blue and 8 red gloves in the drawer. How many gloves should I pick to get at least one pair of alike (in color) gloves? What if there were 12 blue gloves and 12 red gloves?
We did this problem last year too, and it looks like they didn’t remember/understand a lot of the problems from last year, because now when I gave them similar problems to the ones we had last year, they don’t remember it at all and have to think again and solve it afresh (which is good for them). But they grew up noticeably since last year so they solved the problem faster than they did last year just because they’re older now, and they go to school, and have to do some type of math there too.
5. Each pair is given red and blue poker chips. Players sit back to back, so they do not see each other’s move. The players are NOT allowed to communicate! If both play a red chip, they get 2 points each. If they play different colors, the one who plays the blue gets 3 points, and the one who plays the red gets nothing. If both play blue, both get 1 coin each. The purpose is to get as many points as possible. What is the safer choice to make? What choice gets you more points?
For this problem, I asked them to work with a partner and I recorded the points that they got. Then after a couple minutes of playing I asked them what was the safest choice to make. They all answered “blue because in any case you get some points, and unlike with the red chips, you don’t have the risk of getting zero”. Correct.
6. Play robot (opposite). The kids have to get me from one point of the room to another while giving me instructions (I’m the robot), but I do everything opposite from what they say.
I asked them if they remembered backwards Simon Says, and they said “YES! That was so fun!”! Then I asked them if they remembered “robot” and they yelled “YES! That’s our favorite game!” Then I asked them if they wanted to try playing “backwards robot”- a mix of their two favorite games. They were so happy! They took turns controlling me from one spot of the room to another (this was a good cool-down activity).