Tag Archives: Teacher story

A High School Math Teacher Sharpens Students’ Thinking Skills with Brainteasers!

This story is shared by Mat Reive, a High School Mathematics and Computer Science Teacher in Ontario, Canada.


In my high school math classes, it is common that I start the class off with a brain teaser. This is usually a brain teaser puzzle from either ThinkFun’s Visual Brain Storm set, an Ivan Moscovich or Martin Gardner book, or a brain teaser that I have gotten from the internet. The whole class participates and gets engaged in trying to solve these puzzles. If I ever forget the puzzle at the start of the class, they always remind me.

 A High School Math Teacher Sharpens Students Thinking Skills with Brainteasers!

I have found brain teaser puzzles a great way to have fun, collaborate with each others, discuss problem solving techniques, and make connections to the curriculum. It is common that a student will think of a solution or strategy to a puzzle that I have never considered, and this always intrigues and excites me.

At the end of class, if students have some free time, I encourage them to try to solve some of the harder brain teaser puzzles, like a slider puzzle, Gordian’s Knot, or a disentanglement puzzle. They get right into solving these puzzles. Two things always surprise me when students are working on these puzzles — the problem solving strategies that they come up with on their own and their perseverance and determination to solve the puzzle. It is common that they want to borrow a puzzle from me at the end of class because they really want to finish it.


As a puzzle enthusiast myself, I love bringing this world of logic and hands-on problem solving into my classroom to share with students!

Feed Your Students Brain Candy!

This email just made my day – as a former teacher, I get such a thrill knowing our games and puzzles are not only encouraging students to open their minds, they’ve become the carrot (or in this case – candy!) that students looks forward to!  When brain-building games feel more like PLAY and less like work, I say mission accomplished!


Choco 1530 HiResSpill 300x300 Feed Your Students Brain Candy!

Mmmm, Brain Candy!


“I know this is taking up valuable time; however, I’d like to let you know that I encourage lateral and spatial thinking as well in my science classes.  I teach junior high and high school science at a small school in Nebraska.  I have a total of 66 students in 6 different science classes; my largest class has 17 and my smallest has 3. 

I try to incorporate my personally-owned ThinkFun games on days that I can accomodate the most students.  There are some days that more than half the class is gone for activities or it’s a shortened day before a holiday.  I want the kids to still be engaged, so I have come up with “Brain Candy” days where they get a “day off” of regular work, but they have the opportunity to stimulate their brains with ThinkFun “candy”.  Thank you for having products that will fit my philosophy!”