Snowman Visual Logic

Teaching critical thinking skills to early elementary kids can be tough when a child still struggles with reading complete sentences. But, what if you take out the need to read and just focus on building logic and reasoning?

Take a look at this:

If you’ve ever played the old Zoombinis Logical Journey computer game, the card game Set, or even the strategy game Mastermind then you’ll already have the basic idea of how to solve this Snowman Visual Logic Puzzle.

The snowmen in this picture have 3 different features that they can possibly share:

  • Type of Hat
  • Type of Scarf
  • Type of Arms

The top group of 3 snowmen all wear the same long, yellow hat and have stick arms with 3 “fingers” each. Each of the snowmen’s scarf is different, however.

To answer the question, Which snowman belongs to the group, students have to be able to:

  1. Recognize the rules for belonging to the group and
  2. Visually discriminate those rules from the possible answer options

Why Is Visual Discrimination Important?

Being able to pick out subtle differences in spelling patterns is a critical skill for becoming a successful reader. Mistaking similar looking letters can be the difference between “cat” and “cot”. Not noticing a specific letter within a word can make “stick” become “sick”. The implications for reading comprehension, as you can imagine, are significant.

Solving visual logic puzzles gives kids the chance to practice paying attention to details – to sorting and classifying information – and building deductive reasoning skills. While most kids think they’re getting a day off from learning when they work on tasks like the Snowmen Visual Logic Puzzles, they’re actually building important visual discrimination and critical thinking skills that form the basis for future academic success.

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Alessa Giampaolo Keener, M.Ed. homeschooled her children from kindergarten into college. Over the last 15+ years, she has also worked with families in creating individualized learning plans. As a professional curriculum developer, Alessa has created afterschool youth development programs for a Baltimore-based nonprofit, as well as teaching materials for homeschool parents and brick and mortar school teachers.

3 thoughts on “Snowman Visual Logic

  • December 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I loved Zoombinis! My students did, too. That snowman challenge was definitely challenging! I had to read your clues more than once to figure out the correct answer. 🙂

    — Susan
    The ESL Connection

  • December 3, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Wouldn’t critical thinking allow the student to make a choice and defend it? A better test is to see what groups the child can make and define. This is more akin to Set. It also rewards creative thought, which standardized and multiple choice tests punish.

    • December 4, 2015 at 11:37 am

      Great question – and yes, teaching critical thinking and reasoning skills to kids definitely encourages flexible thinking and having them present testable “theories” that they can defend. There are many questions in life that can be solved with more than one answer and it’s important for kids to learn to see problems from multiple angles. The activity you describe, of having kids make and define their own groups, would be a wonderful follow-up activity to this lesson, which give younger kids the opportunity to practice and hone their observation and classification skills.

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