# Summer Boredom Blaster: Get Your Feet Wet with Logic Puzzles

In this new series of SOLARO blog entries, we are going to explore some fun, exciting, and easy ways to ensure that students keep learning through the summer.  Over the next few months, SOLARO is going to publish one fun activity per week, taken from our vast pool of resources, which are usually only available to SOLARO subscribers. We believe our content is superior to all other online learning resources on the Internet; therefore, we are so excited to be able to share a little bit with our blog readers.

So stay tuned and get your kids involved in some brain-stimulating activities that are sure to drag them away from the video games. (At least for a while!)

Our SOLARO team has put together a fine assortment of boredom blasters so far this summer, but you’ve probably all been wondering where all the math fun has been hiding. This week, we’re going to show you how to solve GridWorksTM logic puzzles.

These puzzles, along with many other excellent logical reasoning puzzles, can be found at Puzzles.com, and they range from very easy to very difficult. GridWorksTM puzzles each consist of a 3-by-3 grid that needs to be completed using 9 tiles with 3 different shapes coloured yellow, blue, and green.

Each puzzle includes clues to help decide which shape goes where. Each clue will give some information about the locations of the shapes. For example, in puzzle 31, there is one clue that gives the location of many of the shapes:

The clue can be copied directly into the grid. The rest of the puzzle can be solved using the simple rule that no shape is duplicated; each of the triangles, Xs, and circles is a different colour.

More than one clue can be given for a puzzle. For example, there are five clues given to help solve puzzle 177.

In this puzzle, some of the clues could go in a variety of different places on the grid. For example, clue 5 could go in the top left, top right, bottom left, or bottom right.

To decide where it needs to go, start with clue 3. Because of its shape, it must go in the top left corner of the puzzle.

Now, you can look to see where to put clue 5.

It cannot go in the squares at the top left, because square 2 is already yellow, and it cannot be blue as well. For the same reason, clue 5 cannot go in the squares at the top right. It cannot go in the bottom left, because square 4 is already an X, and it cannot also be a circle.

The only place to put clue 5 is in the squares at the bottom right.

The only clues that are left are 1, 2, and 4. Clue 1 is the same shape as clue 5.

It might also go in the same four places in the puzzle as clue 5. Not so fast, though. If you look at what is already there, you can see that it cannot go in the top right, because then the green triangle would have to go in square 2, which must contain a yellow shape.

It cannot go in the bottom left, because the triangles would have to go in squares 4 and 5, which already contain an X and a circle, respectively.

It cannot go in the bottom right because the green triangle would go in square 5, which already has a circle in it.

The only place it can go is the top left.

This leaves clues 2 and 4.

These are some simple guidelines to get you started. Try puzzles 1–4, 6, 9, 10, 13, 15, 21, and 27 for some practice using these techniques. As you go through the website, you will probably notice that some clues are given on a blue background. These are negative clues, and our next blog will go over how to use those. You can also read more about negative clues and clues that rotate or reflect on the Clue Example page and the Extensions page. Good luck!

Images based on Gridworks puzzle images.

# A Peek Inside SOLARO: The Toughest Boredom Blaster Yet

In this new series of SOLARO blog entries, we are going to explore some fun, exciting, and easy ways to ensure that students keep learning through the summer.  Over the next few months, SOLARO is going to publish one fun activity per week, taken from our vast pool of resources, which are usually only available to SOLARO subscribers. We believe our content is superior to all other online learning resources on the Internet; therefore, we are so excited to be able to share a little bit with our blog readers.

So stay tuned and get your kids involved in some brain-stimulating activities that are sure to drag them away from the video games. (At least for a while!)

It’s summertime. You’re probably on your computer because the weather is doing something awful: it’s pouring rain or your town is experiencing yet another freak heat wave. You’re cruising the Internet for something stimulating to do when you find an educational site promising to blast your boredom away. Instead, we frighten you with a horrifying flashback.

We didn’t mean to scare you. We just want to say, “It doesn’t have to be like that.”

Here at SOLARO, our writers and graphic artists understand the importance of visual imagery in learning—and not just its role in understanding what’s being read, but also in making reading easier and more enjoyable.

This is part of what makes SOLARO particularly great for visual-spatial concepts (those that require you to picture an object and manipulate it in your mind). These can be some of the most difficult concepts to grasp. SOLARO lays out everything step by step so that students can get a clear picture (no pun intended) of what’s going on.

To show you just how clear and vivid learning can be with SOLARO, here is a sample from one of our lessons about cross sections of three-dimensional (3-D) figures. We’ve made some formatting changes for this blog post so we can focus on the content. If you want to see what that great content looks like tied in with SOLARO’s interface, check out our free tour by clicking on any of the classes on this list.

Identifying and Sketching Three-Dimensional Cross Sections

A cross section is the image of the intersection of a plane and a three-dimensional figure. A cross section is also known as a plane section. This results in a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional figure. This image can either be on the inside of a figure or on the surface.

One way to visualize a cross section is to imagine cutting an object into two pieces with a knife. In this case, the knife is comparable to the plane, and the newly exposed inside is comparable to the cross section.

For a rectangular prism, a cross section taken perpendicular to the base will always look the same: it will always be a rectangle.

Though plane sections usually intersect an object perpendicular to its base, a plane can intersect an object at any angle. A different plane orientation will give a different plane section.

Notice how three different plane orientations give three different cross sections for the following square-based pyramid.

For some objects, such as a torus, the appearance of the cross section varies even if each intersecting plane is perpendicular to its base.

Notice what happens when planes 1, 2, and 3 intersect the torus. The resulting cross section is different for each plane section.

Here is an example:

Now you give it a try!

Please feel free to leave a comment with your answer and perhaps your rationale for those who are having trouble. We’ll reveal the correct solution in our next blog entry. Stay tuned!

# Summer Boredom Blaster 9: Pursuing Poetry

In this new series of SOLARO blog entries, we are going to explore some fun, exciting, and easy ways to ensure that students keep learning through the summer.  Over the next few months, SOLARO is going to publish one fun activity per week, taken from our vast pool of resources, which are usually only available to SOLARO subscribers. We believe our content is superior to all other online learning resources on the Internet; therefore, we are so excited to be able to share a little bit with our blog readers.

So stay tuned and get your kids involved in some brain-stimulating activities that are sure to drag them away from the video games. (At least for a while!)

In today’s boredom blaster, we’re going to explore some types of poetic language (also known as literary devices), then put them to good use in one of the most common forms of poetry in English literature: the sonnet!

Poets and other writers use certain techniques to enhance the effect of a poem on a reader’s senses, imagination, or emotions. Skillful use of these techniques can make the reader feel fear, suspense, joy, peace—whatever the writer wants the reader to feel! That is why people sometimes say they “feel” poetry more than understand it. In this sense, poetry is a lot like music or painting. Poetic language is what creates this emotional bond between the poem and the reader.

To get warmed up, here are some examples of literary devices.

Now that you’re familiar with some of the building blocks of poetry, it’s time to consider constructing a sonnet. So, what makes a sonnet a sonnet?

English poetry has two major sonnet forms: Italian (or Petrarchan) and English (or Shakespearean). While both are fourteen-line poems written in iambic pentameter, they have different rhyme schemes. For today, we’ll focus on the English sonnet because its rhyme scheme is a little easier.

Rhyme scheme is measured using lowercase letters to label the lines of poetry that end on the same rhyme. The first end rhyme of a poem is a, the next is b, and so on. Any line that rhymes with a becomes a as well, and any line that rhymes with b becomes b. The rhyme scheme of an English sonnet is abab cdcd efef gg. Here’s what it looks like in action:

But what about those literary devices? Can you identify any in this sonnet?

You’re ready to give it a try now: you have a set of literary devices, and you know the structure of the poem. You can write your sonnet about anything you want, but if you’re stuck for an idea, here are examples of common themes from English sonnets.

If you’re not tempted by the classics but are still faced with writer’s block, don’t fear! Here’s a list of some random ideas that might be fun to write about.

Don’t forget: we love to see your submissions in the comments!