Maths perplexors are deductive logic puzzles. They are specifically designed to challenge and extend mainstream or more able maths pupils.
It is strongly recommended that the teacher models the process of deductive reasoning once or twice with the pupils, if necessary, before allowing them to work independently (or in pairs or small groups).
When you are faced with a number of options, logic is often used to make a choice.
Logic uses reasoning and proof to help you analyse information and come to a conclusion.
All the information needed to solve a Maths perplexors logic problem is given in the puzzle story and its following clues.
In the beginning, all the possibilities are listed for each category.
As they are eliminated by information given in the clues, these possibilities should be crossed off.
In a vertical column, if all the answers in a column are eliminated except for one, then that one remaining possibility must be the answer and it should be circled.
The same is true in horizontal rows. If all the possibilities are eliminated in a row except for one, then that one remaining possibility must be the answer and it should be circled. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this technique is to look at the sample puzzle on page iv and follow along as the reasons for crossing off and circling an answer are given.Maths perplexors are not designed as easy, done-in-a-minute activities.
Rather, they are challenges that require a reasoned, logical response over time.
They will both challenge and extend pupils. There are many ways in which these puzzles can be used in a classroom.
The following are examples only, not an exhaustive list.
H_o_m_e_w_o_r_k_ _This is not a 'more of the same' activity; it is an opportunity for pupils to consolidate and expand on what they have learnt in the classroom.
E_x_t_e_n_s_i_o_n_ _a_c_t_i_v_i_t_i_e_s_ _This is self-explanatory.
The extension could be in terms of content or process.
S_m_a_l_l_-_g_r_o_u_p_ _p_r_o_b_l_e_m_-_s_o_l_v_i_n_g_ _Thinking and talking mathematically are two vital skills.
By working on the logic puzzles in pairs or small groups, thinking and talking about the problem, pupils can share and strengthen these skills.
W_h_o_l_e_-_c_l_a_s_s_ _c_h_a_l_l_e_n_g_e_s_ _Teacher assistance may be required with some pupils; modelling is an effective strategy. 'E_x_t_r_a_s_' _This is mainly a fun activity/challenge for the more mathematically able or advanced pupils.