Using Lateral Thinking Puzzles
Posted April 21, 2009on:
If you don’t know what a lateral thinking puzzle is, google it. These are great puzzles to make the kids think a little differently. The kids make so many assumptions, I’m always struggling to find ways to open up their thinking process.
I had a period to kill with one of my classes, so I pulled out a few of these puzzles. It’s real important to lay down the rules for the puzzles. They need to take turns asking questions, they get into it, but I can’t answer questions when they talk over each other. The questions have to be in a form that I can answer with yes or no. Sometimes I answer with “doesn’t matter” or “I don’t know” and that irritates them because it wasn’t in the rules. It was, I just didn’t tell them.
The idea is for them to start asking questions and realizing they assumed an incorrect body of information. Here’s an example, it’s so common, I don’t think I’m ruining any great puzzle sharing it.A body is discovered in a park in Chicago in the middle of summer. It has a fractured skull and many other broken bones, but the cause of death was hypothermia.
The solution is usually in the form of a story that the kids need to work out through their questioning. Here is the solution to the above puzzle:
A poor peasant from somewhere in Europe desperately wants to come to the United States. Lacking money for airfare, he stows away in the landing gear compartment of a jet. He dies of hypothermia in mid flight and falls out when the compartment opens as the plane makes it final approach.
Check out some online sources and books at the stores. I have a couple of books, but I find most of the puzzles aren’t good enough to use in class. I might highlight for or five puzzles from a small book of puzzles. Tell me how they work out for you.