Thursday, July 9, 2015

Encouraging Critical Thinking for Children in the Summer - Sidewalk Chalk Cryptograms



I snuck (or sneaked, for my non-American friends) out early this morning, before the children were awake, to chalk out a quick cryptogram puzzle for them to discover, and hopefully, solve later in the the day.

Who says we have to give up teaching thinking skills, just because it's summer?

I read an interview with a female engineer (I forget who, now) reflecting on the events in her childhood, that had encouraged her into pursuing a math heavy career.   One of the things she remembered most was a daily puzzle, put up by her father, on a chalkboard in their kitchen, for the family to race to solve. 

I  would love to do that eventually, but I haven't found the right chalkboard to fit with our new house, yet.  In the meantime, we have plenty of patio space here and there around the yard, the weather is fine, and I want the children outside, anyway.  So, a sidewalk chalk puzzle seemed like a natural fit for summer.

Kid Zone has a fantastic cryptogram maker.  You just type in your own message (or let the computer choose one for you), indicate how many clues to give, and it generates the puzzle for you.  I decided to start out with a familiar Bible memory verse for our first try.  I'm all about killing two birds with one stone.  If we can strengthen strategic thinking, and build better Bible knowledge at the same time - so much the better.

The book of the Bible is included at the end, but the chapter and verse are not (one final challenge for the children).


Can you solve the puzzle, and find the verse?

6 comments:

Phyllis said...

What a fantastic idea! I love it!! I think my boys would have fun with it. Thanks for sharing it.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This is fun! I bought a stick-on (like contact paper) chalkboard through a Living Social deal that my kids have enjoyed more than I expected.

Ticia said...

I'd guess from my quick crack at breaking it, 25 is E, and the book is Romans. Now to figure out the rest.

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

With some heavy cheating (like solving the beginning and then looking up popular verses from Romans), I was able to solve it. For all have sinned... Were your kids able to do it?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Natalie - I gave them one additional letter - "l" and they solved it instantly. It's a very familiar verse to them, though. Today, I chalked out Romans 6:23 - but they haven't discovered it on the patio, yet.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

Great idea (although I am rarely up before my children so I'm not sure it would work!) I used to put logic puzzles on our white board each day for my older ones to solve. They loved it. I must try it again....