Grade Level: This activity is suitable for students in grades 3 – 5.
Objective: Determine the value of each symbol.
Task: Each symbol has a numerical value. The sum of each row and column is shown on the outside of the table. Use the clues to determine the value of each symbol.
Ways to Utilize the Activity: This is a great starter activity. Display this on your projector or give each student a copy and let them go to work. Then, as a class, discuss ways to approach the task. Ask questions such as:
- Where do you start? Why?
- How do you determine the value of a symbol?
- In what order do you need to determine the value of the symbols?
- In the last column, if you know the value of the elf and the gift box, how can you find the value of the cupcake?
- What problem solving strategy did you use?
Note: Some students will use the guess and check strategy to solve the puzzle; however, it is beneficial to discuss the relationships among the symbols in the puzzle as well. For example, if 3 cookies and a gift box equal 24 and the gift box equals 9, then 24 – 9 = 15. Therefore, the 3 cookies must equal 15 and 15 divided by 3 equals 5. The sugar cookie must be worth 5. Encourage students who use the guess and check strategy and achieve the solution quickly to discover some of these relationships.
You may also want to consider allowing younger students to work in pairs to approach this task and then discuss ways to approach the task together.
This logic puzzle makes a great fast finisher activity. It can also be included on a math menu or used on a menu of problem solving station options.
Solution: Santa hat (7), sugar cookie (5), cupcake (6), elf (8), gift box (9)
Challenge: Have students create their own puzzles with stickers, basic shapes, or letters.
Note: You can download this freebie, including a printer-friendly version, here.