Did you know some types of logic puzzles are part of the entrance exam for law school?  Perplexing Placement Puzzles are part of Mind-Bending Mondays!  I began writing and using these puzzles with my students many years ago.  When the books were published, a close friend who is also a lawyer, told me these types of puzzles were on the LSAT!  (It’s true; click here for a sample LSAT test!)

As teachers, we don’t use these because they are on the LSAT; but we do use them for the same reason!  Higher order thinking skills are typically considered to be the top 3 levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.  In education, many systems now use DOK levels.

There are many studies linking higher order thinking to academic success (here is one), and many books, including A Mind at a Time, that promote specific types of higher order thinking.

In A Mind at a Time, brain expert Mel Levine calls this type of thinking sequential ordering.  On a very basic level, sequential ordering and spatial ordering help people organize materials and time.  The higher level of this type of thinking involves problem solving, logical reasoning, and creative thinking!  I believe those are great reasons to teach those skills!

With my students, I decided to incorporate the following types of puzzles:

  • deductive logic
  • sequential ordering (Placement Puzzles)
  • Venn diagram puzzles
  • algebraic logic puzzles
  • advanced problem solving (Building Problem Solving Strategies)
  • visual/spatial puzzles

Although I am not a fan of standardized tests, in my first year implementing this plan, my class test scores were well above the predicted scores and average scores.  Although I have not been in the role of a homeroom teacher for many years, I have continued to see the impact of using these materials!  Thinking skills affect all academic areas!

If you are a parent, use these with your child!  If you are a teacher, incorporate these into your week with students!  If anyone questions why you are doing this, show them the research!

We’ll talk more about the benefits of each type of puzzle along with suggestions  for incorporating them in the future!  For now, I hope you are excited about Perplexing Placement Puzzles on Mind-Bending Mondays!

What are your thoughts?  

What types of activities and/or materials do you currently use to promote critical thinking?

What has been your experience with these materials?