Tackle Problem-Solving, Logical Reasoning, and Critical Thinking With These Fun Activities!

When you think of problem-solving, logical reasoning, and critical thinking, do you visualize boring worksheets that students moan and groan about? Well, let’s put a stop to that! Logic problems are an engaging and interactive way to incorporate these essential skills into the math classroom, resulting in increased motivation and interest. They are also an effective way to introduce algebraic thinking and help students develop the skills necessary for success in algebra in later grades. Too often the work that we give students consists of surface level thinking, where they simply regurgitate answers. But logic problems can provide a new type of challenge and encourage them to think in a much deeper way.

How to Complete a Logic Problem Puzzle

To complete the puzzle, students will quickly catch on that they must begin with symbols that they KNOW for certain. For example, in the puzzle below, we begin with solving for the gumball machines, since we know that 5+5=10. Now that we know the gumball machine equals 5, we can solve the second row. The heart equals 10, since 10+5=15. Lastly, we can solve the bottom row. Since we know the heart equals 10, we can conclude that the lollipop must be 6.

Trickier Than They Seem

Although the example above seems simple, it is not always easy for kids to think in this way, particularly once the puzzles get more difficult. When deciding which puzzles to use with your students, remember that if they are not used to doing activities that involve logical reasoning, they will very likely find them challenging. Your grade 3-4 students might be sufficiently challenged with the numbers to 20 puzzles, even though they work with numbers in the thousands in other math activities. 

I recommend making several levels of puzzles available to your students and allowing them to choose the ones that challenge their brains “just enough.” I typically find that students are eager to work to their full potential and will generally choose the ones that are best suited to their abilities.

Ideas for Use

There are many ways you can store and use these puzzles in your classroom:

  • Use at one of your math centers. Place the logic puzzles in the center of the table, and have students choose whichever ones they want to complete. To add differentiation, allow your students to choose between different sets of logic puzzles.
  • Store on a ring or in a folder and use an early finisher activity.
  • Post the puzzles around the room and use them for an “Around the Room” gallery walk activity. Have students circulate around the room, completing puzzles as they go! *Pro-tip: Give each student a clipboard if you have them available.
  • Use them as partner work. You will LOVE the amazing mathematical conversation that will occur as students talk about what each picture represents.
Personally, I prefer to print these in color and laminate each card, but you may also wish to simply make black and white booklets for your students to keep inside their math folders.

Free Sample for Your Classroom

If you’d like to try these puzzles in your classroom, but aren’t sure which set will work best, I’ve made a free sample available for you. Take them to your classroom and see how students respond before committing to purchasing an entire package or the full multi-grade bundle. In the free sample, you’ll receive one puzzle from each package . Download your free sample below! 


Full Packages and Bundle

If you are ready to use these puzzles in your classroom, I’ve included the links to the individual packages below. Each package of Logic Problems comes with 20 puzzles. Simply laminate, cut, and make copies of the recording sheets and you’ve got one of your math centers taken care of! 


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