Halloween Problem Solving Activities

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Engaging Halloween themed activities are offered to give students of all ages practice with problem solving. The activities can be collaborative or completed independently. They are adjustable for skill level and age.

Problem Solving - Halloween Theme

Halloween is a fun time of year when students can become a bit excitable as they anticipate the night of enjoyment. Incorporating that excitement into the classroom is a great way to maintain student engagement while continuing with educational goals.

The activities offered here will give your students practice with logical thinking as they solve problems related to Halloween. The activities can be adjusted to most ages (very young elementary students may be too young).

Tree of Solutions

Being able to figure out more than one method to solve a problem is a great skill.

Materials

  • Large sheets of paper (butcher paper or poster paper)
  • Markers

Instructions

  • Divide your class into small groups.
  • Give your class a fairly simple problem related to Halloween like:
    • I want to maximize my candy haul.
    • I need to hide my candy from my sibling.
    • How do I carry all my candy?
  • Instruct your students to write the problem on their poster paper and then draw 2 to 5 lines from this problem (depending on the age and skill level of the students).
  • Now, they should write a possible tool to help with the problem on each of the lines they have drawn.
  • Again, they should draw 2 to 5 lines from each tool line to indicate possible options for using that tool to do the job.
  • Depending on the age and skill level of your students, you can continue the tree having them come up with many layers of options and possible solutions.
  • When you have exhausted the number of layers you intend, allow time for your students to share their solutions with the class.
    • Discuss how many similar and different solutions were given.

Alternative

  • This could be given as an independent activity.

Candy Corn Pyramid Activity

This is a mental logic activity using candy to keep students engaged.

Materials

  • Candy corn
  • Craft sticks
  • Straws
  • Other structural building tools (optional)

Instructions

  • Divide your class into small groups of 2 or 3.
  • Give each group a bag of candy corn.
  • Instruct the groups to construct the tallest pyramid they can without using any stabilizing tools other than just the candy corn pieces.
  • Give a time limit for the build.
  • After the time has expired, discuss any difficulties students had.
    • How could you address these problems?
  • Now, allow access to all of the building materials and instruct your students to attempt the build again, but this time they can use any materials available.
  • Give them the same amount of time as the first build.
  • Discuss how things were different with the second build.

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