Math = Love: Triangular Number Posters and That's Logical Puzzles

## Saturday, January 27, 2018

### Triangular Number Posters and That's Logical Puzzles

It's January, and I'm still finding new things that need to go up on the walls of my classroom. It's a bit of an obsession. Don't believe me? Just take a look at my classroom!

My Math Concepts class has been working on "That's Logical" puzzles since we came back to school from Christmas Break in January. These are an out-of-print set of puzzle books from Creative Publications. This is the same publishing company that brought us Algebra with Pizzazz and all the other pizzazz themed books.  From my research, it appears that the company was bought out by McGraw Hill and no longer publishes any books...

 Image Courtesy of Amazon (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51cQ0ECLW1L._SX393_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)
For the first few weeks of the semester, we worked through the 1st-4th grade book (affiliate link). I did NOT tell my students that they were working on puzzles meant for 1st-4th graders. Students are given 9 letters (3 X's, 3 O's, and 3 V's) to place in a 3 x 3 grid to satisfy a number of provided "clues."

The puzzles come in three different levels based on the number of fixed clues that are given.

Here's an example of a Level 1 puzzle.

The puzzles increase in difficulty throughout the book until there are no fixed clues given. Here's an example of a Level 3 puzzle.

I typed up a solution grid template and each student uses a dry erase pocket (affiliate link) to solve their puzzle as a daily warm-up.

My kids were hesitant about these puzzles for the first few days, but after they started understanding how they worked they got really into them. I found that three of these puzzles made the perfect length of warm-up for my math concepts students. Keep in mind, these are students who are in 9th grade but who aren't ready for 9th grade level math. At my school, this means they aren't ready for Algebra 1. So, I'm happy to be giving them tasks that are improving their reasoning skills since I believe that reasoning is a crucial prerequisite for high school level math classes (and all math classes for that matter).

The first week or two of these puzzles were incredibly easy for my students once they got the hang of it. They should have been easy since they were elementary level puzzles according to the book. The last week or so of puzzles became increasingly tricky because they required higher levels of reasoning. But, they weren't impossible, so my students still felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

This week, we finished off the 1st-4th grade level book and started on the second volume which is designated for 4th-8th graders. These puzzles definitely take a leap in difficulty level between the first volume and the second volume.

Take a look at the first puzzle in the 4th-8th grade book (affiliate link).

All of a sudden, we are using the numbers 1-9 instead of letters of the alphabet. And, there are all these weird symbols that we need to know the meaning of. The squares stand for perfect squares. The cubes stand for perfect cubes.

Luckily, I have posters of the perfect squares and perfect cubes on my wall! Download the file for these posters here.

E stands for even. If there is an E with a slash through it, it stands for not even. These aren't on my wall. I kinda assume that my high school students know which numbers are even by now. This isn't always the case, though...

P stands for prime. I also have a list of prime numbers on my wall. (Download these posters here.)

The last symbol is a triangle which stands for triangular numbers. My students quickly realized I didn't have the triangular numbers on my wall anywhere. Well, that was true until yesterday during my planning period when I printed and laminated a set of triangular number posters.

I printed them on yellow paper, and I've decided that they remind me a bit of yield signs...

I love that I've become the type of teacher with the reputation that every new concept we learn in my math class should be able to be found somewhere on the wall.

My students have needed a lot of help and modeling to tackle these new "That's Logical" puzzles, but I think after a few days that my students are starting to get it. A few students are refusing to try, but I'm not sure what to do about that. I'm sure our experiences with these puzzles will continue to improve as we continue doing them as a daily warm-up. These puzzles take quite a while longer than the other puzzles, so I'm only allowing time for two of these puzzles each day.

Want to get your hands on these "That's Logical" puzzles? You can pick up used copies of the puzzle books on Amazon. Here's the links (affiliate) for Grades 1-4 and Grades 4-8. There are also some pdf scans of both books floating around on the internet that are of questionable legality. I won't post a link here, but they are quite easy to find with a google search.

Want a set of triangular number posters for your classroom? I've uploaded the files here.