Sometimes the best classroom ideas come once textbooks are turned in, no new math lessons are in the plans, and the school year is winding down! This year, whether it was a result of creativity or that end-of-year desperation, I tried out a new math brain teaser activity in my classroom. It turned out to be a fun way to keep the 6th graders engaged (and moving!) as our final week of school came to an end.
It's actually a pretty simple concept. I searched around online and found some free math brain teaser problems that I thought would fit my class. I threw the ones that I liked into a PowerPoint, so that I six total brain teasers, each on their own poster. They looked something like this.
There are plenty of great sites that have fun brain teasers, but the primary two websites that I pulled mine from were CoolMath4Kids and Math Warehouse.
Next, I posted the six brain teaser posters around the room. Each problem also had a basket and scrap paper next to it for students to write and place their guesses. To start the activity, students walked around at their own pace, reading and attempting to solve the problems. I let them go in any order. After a student attempted a brain teaser, they wrote their name and answer on a piece of scrap paper, and placed it in the basket next to that problem.
After about 20 minutes, we got back together as a class. One at a time, we went through the solution to each problem. After solving it, I drew answers out of the basket for that problem. The first correct answer to be drawn from each basket won a prize (in my class a mint or a Starburst)! Hope you enjoyed this quick and easy activity... it could really be adapted to any grade or subject, it is just a matter of finding the right level of brain teasers for your students!