Is it a keychain? Is it a pony? (Age 8)

The Activities

  1. Topic: Logic. Book: True Lies, by Shannon. We read four more chapters from this book, and the kids were begging for more.
  2. Topic: Spatial Reasoning, Tangrams. Each kid had a set of tangrams and tried to recreate shapes from a tangram book.IMG_20160403_175820
  3. Topic: Logic, Decision Trees. I made several sets of objects, and the kids had to write a decision tree that would classify each object into my groupings.IMG_20160403_175210IMG_20160403_175546

    How did it go?

We had four kids this week. The circle was great overall. The Tangram activity was really hard for everyone. The decision trees were easy for some kids, and hard for others.

True Lies

This time the kids had lots of ideas for how to solve the riddles. In fact, the kids solved 2 out of 4 all by themselves, and had good ideas for the others. The best one today was:

A man said “I have a hog so tall that a fellow can’t touch its back if he stretches his hand as high as he can.” His friends went to go see the hog, and it was just a normal size. Was he lying?

One kid said you can’t pat a normal sized hog if you stretch your hand up high, because your hand will be above its back. This turned out to be the correct answer.


We did Tangrams two ways. First, we had some tangram pictures printed out, where the picture was the full tangram size. You could do the tangram by arranging the pieces on top of the picture. This was easy for everyone.

Second, we had printed out a few pages from a Tangram book, where each picture was much smaller than the Tangrams. Only one kid matched any picture from that book. I also failed…it was surprisingly hard.  The kids did give it a good try, but after a few minutes there were lots of comments about how this was too hard, or impossible. After a few more minutes, we stopped, and my daughter said she was so exhausted she could hardly open her eyes.

Decision Trees

I had several stations set up with two or three groups of objects at each station. The task was to make a decision that would classify the objects into the groups I had made. You could ask any yes/no question, as long as you didn’t use the word ‘and’ or ‘or’.

First we did one tree as a group, and then kids cycled around to the different stations, moving one whenever they finished one. Some of the stations were easy, and some were tricky.

The easiest was a station that had one pile with yellow stones in it, and another pile with a mix of blue and green stones.  3 of the 4 kids started their tree with “Is it yellow?” if yes, then pile A, if no, then pile B.  The fourth kid started with “Is it green?”, but then didn’t know how to continue. I suggested looking at the other colors, and the kid switched to “Is it yellow?”


My daughter was very interested in making sure her decision trees used different questions from everyone else’s. At the end of circle we compared trees, and saw the different ways people had solved the same problem.

IMG_20160403_175423I watched one girl working on this set of objects. First she said “Oh, is it a keychain?” but then she noticed that there is a keychain in 2A.  She then changed the top question to “Is it a pony?”, and then followed up with “Is it a keychain?” in the “no” branch.


One kid’s decision trees.


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