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Invention at Play - Smithsonian Institution

Grades
6 to 12
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Don't miss this engaging exploration from the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for Invention. Learn why play is important for both adults and children, and discover the essential relationship...more
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Don't miss this engaging exploration from the Smithsonian's Lemelson Center for Invention. Learn why play is important for both adults and children, and discover the essential relationship between play, creativity, and invention. The site is loaded with interactive examples and games, and those with broadband connections will enjoy well produced video interviews and explanations.

tag(s): behavior (46), child development (25), creativity (109), inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Try this one if you work with gifted students or are planning a unit on invention or inventors.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Explorer - Exploratorium

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6 to 8
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The Exploratorium's Math Explorer offers a set of games and tricks involving mathematical concepts, but specifically formatted for classroom use. (You learn how to set up and run each...more
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The Exploratorium's Math Explorer offers a set of games and tricks involving mathematical concepts, but specifically formatted for classroom use. (You learn how to set up and run each activity, and also how long each should take in the classroom.) Designed specifically for middle schoolers, these activities might also be used for elementary gifted students.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

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Moon Illusion - Sandlot Science

Grades
6 to 12
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Why does that Harvest Moon appear so huge? This page from the Sandlot Science site offers an explanation that middle and high school students should find interesting. There's an interactive...more
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Why does that Harvest Moon appear so huge? This page from the Sandlot Science site offers an explanation that middle and high school students should find interesting. There's an interactive applet that illustrates how the phenomenon actually works. Try this one if you're studying astronomy, the solar system, or puzzles and illusions.

tag(s): moon (72), solar system (119)

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NRich Online Maths Club

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a curious math site that offers a number of challenging problems for various grade levels. Many of these focus on higher order thinking skills. The overall organization leaves...more
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This is a curious math site that offers a number of challenging problems for various grade levels. Many of these focus on higher order thinking skills. The overall organization leaves a bit to be desired, but the inquisitive can make interesting discoveries here.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Most of the articles on the site are written for teachers, not students. There are some interesting ideas on teaching strategies.

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BrainQuest - Workman Publishing

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4 to 12
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Subtitled "it's OK to be smart," this site offers a collection of games, puzzles and activities designed to challenge active minds. There are also original articles, a 2-minute quiz,...more
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Subtitled "it's OK to be smart," this site offers a collection of games, puzzles and activities designed to challenge active minds. There are also original articles, a 2-minute quiz, and a post card feature.

tag(s): logic (235), quiz (85)

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Kids' Mysteries - MysteryNet

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4 to 8
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Here's a page that presents a handful of mysteries that require good thinking for a solution. There's even a collection of mysteries written by kids. How many can you solve? ...more
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Here's a page that presents a handful of mysteries that require good thinking for a solution. There's even a collection of mysteries written by kids. How many can you solve?

tag(s): logic (235)

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Play SET Online - Set Enterprises

Grades
4 to 12
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Set is a challenging logic game that is often used in building reasoning skills in students. The premise is simple enough for elementary students to understand, but the applications...more
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Set is a challenging logic game that is often used in building reasoning skills in students. The premise is simple enough for elementary students to understand, but the applications can be a real challenge even for older students. This online version offers a daily sample to challenge students.

tag(s): logic (235)

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More Brain Teasers - Hoagies

Grades
1 to 12
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A creative collection of puzzles and brainteasers to challenge gifted students. This large collection is maintained by Hoagies and sometimes has a few dead links, but the collection...more
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A creative collection of puzzles and brainteasers to challenge gifted students. This large collection is maintained by Hoagies and sometimes has a few dead links, but the collection is still worth visiting for the MANY good sites they share.

tag(s): gifted (96)

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Planetarium: a puzzle-story in twelve weekly installments

Grades
7 to 12
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Here's an ongoing interactive puzzle that can really grow on you. A free registration lets users move through the puzzle one week at a time, discovering new clues with each ...more
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Here's an ongoing interactive puzzle that can really grow on you. A free registration lets users move through the puzzle one week at a time, discovering new clues with each visit and working with numbers and words to unlock the puzzle's secrets. This would be a great one for an ongoing activity that builds logic and higher order reasoning skills.

tag(s): logic (235), puzzles (208)

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Word Magnet Puzzles

Grades
6 to 12
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This one's mostly for fun, but the on-screen version of the popular magnetic word game lets students manipulate words on the screen to make phrases, sentences, or poetry. Can't find...more
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This one's mostly for fun, but the on-screen version of the popular magnetic word game lets students manipulate words on the screen to make phrases, sentences, or poetry. Can't find the word you want? Just create a new tile for it.

tag(s): poetry (228), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Try this as a brainstormer in your poetry class, or as a vocabulary builder.

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FIRST Competition - FIRST

Grades
4 to 12
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Created by inventor Dean Kamen, this competition encourages students in different age groups to team up and tackle challenges in robotics, physics, and engineering. The site offers...more
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Created by inventor Dean Kamen, this competition encourages students in different age groups to team up and tackle challenges in robotics, physics, and engineering. The site offers detailed instructions as well as information on previous competitions - including some examples.

tag(s): robotics (25)

In the Classroom

If you have students who are serious competitors, this would be a great challenge.

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ChessKids

Grades
4 to 12
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This site promotes chess, school chess clubs, and chess competitions. It offers free templates and other materials which can simplify running a chess club. There are instructional sections...more
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This site promotes chess, school chess clubs, and chess competitions. It offers free templates and other materials which can simplify running a chess club. There are instructional sections as well, but the focus is on getting students involved with the game.

tag(s): chess (3)

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Virtual Math Manipulatives - National Science Foundation

Grades
3 to 12
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This is a collection of really elegant "virtual manipulatives" created with funding from the National Science Foundation. These manipulatives are Java applets, so they may take a minute...more
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This is a collection of really elegant "virtual manipulatives" created with funding from the National Science Foundation. These manipulatives are Java applets, so they may take a minute to load on a dial-up connection. They provide students with a challenging online way to reinforce math concepts in many content areas.

tag(s): logic (235), manipulatives (41), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Use this site to supplement almost any math lesson, grades pre-k through high school. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and find the appropriate lesson aid for your classroom. This site can be used to introduce a variety of lesson plans, so be sure to explore the site previous to use.

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AIMS Puzzle Corner - AIMS Education Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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Puzzles are highly motivational tools that capture the imaginations of students. To infiltrate the classroom with a vibrant brand of problem solving, this site offers a tantalizing...more
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Puzzles are highly motivational tools that capture the imaginations of students. To infiltrate the classroom with a vibrant brand of problem solving, this site offers a tantalizing educational bait-and-hook in the form of a new puzzle each month. Clearly illustrates puzzles and solutions. These ae not online interactives. The puzzles are explained in words or images on the web page. Some have downloadable pdf printables, as well.

tag(s): gifted (96), puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Definitely include this one on your teacher web page for your bright but bored kids to challenge themselves both in and outside of class. Teachers of gifted will enjoy the varied levels available.

Use a puzzle as a "warm-up" at the start of math class every Monday to get the neurons connecting!

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The Rube Goldberg Site - Rube Goldberg, Inc.

Grades
4 to 8
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks....more
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This fun site offers a retrospective on Rube Goldberg's wacky inventions and includes examples of how present-day engineering students devise 20-step ways of accomplishing simple tasks. The site is a great "idea site" for students getting used to invention and problem solving.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Review the invention pictures included on this site on a projector or whiteboard as an activator activity for an inventions unit. Have students draw or design their own machine for performing a similar every-day task.

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Questacon: The Scilands - Questacon

Grades
4 to 12
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This collection - part of an extensive site from Australia's Questacon museum - includes lots of optical illusions and deceptively simple puzzles designed to challenge perceptual abilities,...more
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This collection - part of an extensive site from Australia's Questacon museum - includes lots of optical illusions and deceptively simple puzzles designed to challenge perceptual abilities, logic, and higher-order thinking skills. It's a great place to send that student who's always ready for the next challenge.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class when they are looking for an extra mind-bending challenge. Also consider sharing this site with your teaching colleagues who work with gifted students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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MENSA Workout - MENSA

Grades
6 to 12
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This Mensa challenge includes problems and questions designed to challenge thinkers at all levels. Taken online, the challenge takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. However, the...more
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This Mensa challenge includes problems and questions designed to challenge thinkers at all levels. Taken online, the challenge takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. However, the site can be used as a whole, or teachers can use one or two questions at a time to challenge students.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

This site offers a great mental workout for gifted students or other students who seem to need an added challenge in the classroom. Include this site on your teacher website so that such students may access it outside of class.

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Brain Teasers - Houghton Mifflin

Grades
3 to 8
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This site posts a weekly brain teaser for each of several levels. The teasers challenge students math and logic skills. Archives allow you to find many past problems as well. ...more
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This site posts a weekly brain teaser for each of several levels. The teasers challenge students math and logic skills. Archives allow you to find many past problems as well.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your teacher web page to provide students with a weekly challenge. Include links for all three skill levels and consider challenging advanced students with higher levels.

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The Grey Labyrinth

Grades
6 to 12
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This site boasts a collection of visually impressive math and logic brain-busters to challenge your class puzzlemasters. The collection changes from time to time, and the game-quality...more
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This site boasts a collection of visually impressive math and logic brain-busters to challenge your class puzzlemasters. The collection changes from time to time, and the game-quality graphics make the site especially attractive to those who have grown up on video games.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Include this site on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class for additional mindstretching practice. Also consider sharing this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your gifted students.

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Grand Illusions

Grades
6 to 12
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This collection of surprisingly devlish illusions, mind-games, and other tricks will stump curious students. Most of these puzzles require little or no equipment, making them great...more
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This collection of surprisingly devlish illusions, mind-games, and other tricks will stump curious students. Most of these puzzles require little or no equipment, making them great for quick, indoor activities. If you have students who need an extra challenge, send them here.

tag(s): puzzles (208)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your teaching colleagues who work with your gifted students.

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