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suggestions on games/puzzles to practice reasoning skills?


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We've been doing puzzles of various kinds as a way of introducing logic/reasoning and practicing problem-solving skills. I'm looking for suggestions for more/different ones.


We've done Sudoku. He likes that and does reasonably well. We have done some 'Number Circuits lvl B' from Mindware and that was going along nicely also...until....we hit pg 24. Then the wheels just fell off. Total failure. I think the reason is that starting at that point in the book solving the problems requires thinking more abstractly about properties of a set - and he just cannot get his brain around that.


For those not familiar, the book is a series of variations on 'magic squares'. There are spots to fill in numbers and they give you some constraint the solution has to meet (like 'the sum of all the numbers in each row and column of the grid must be the same' or whatever). Up till pg 24 you could solve the all the puzzles by process of elimination on specific numbers and the pigeon-hole principal - much the way you do for Sudoku.


Doing that on the later problems requires making really long lists of possibilities and going through many steps to eliminate them. The better way to solve them is to observe things like 'the largest sum I could produce from the remaining numbers I can pick from is smaller than the smallest number I'd need to have to meet some requirement, therefore no pairing from this set will work'. Even if I show him that, it seems to go over his head. He's not able to take that notion (elimination of whole groups of options because even the best member of the set fails to meet some requirement) and apply it himself.


I think it's time to move to a different set of puzzles that will exercise some slightly different reasoning skill and come back to this later.


Thoughts/suggestions on where to go next? What did you use with your new logic level student?


Anyone else observe this kind of roadblock on kids of this age? (incidentally, this suggests to me he's not ready for algebra, even though he can handle well all the arithmetic that's in the usual prerequisites).




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