Cognitive Skill Builders for Kids – Teacher Tip #2

Guest teacher Alessa Giampaolo Keener brings us the second in our series of cognitive skill builders for kids.  If you missed the first one, start here:

Cognitive Skill Builders for Kids – Teacher Tip #1


Cognitive Skill Builders for Kids

What is your favorite activity for strengthening students’ cognitive skills?


Perfectionism can be a roadblock to academic risk-taking. Not being willing to take a risk or make a guess when you’re learning new skills or content can hold a child back from learning and developing critical thinking skills.


alphametricsI have found that offering students opportunities to work on problems that have more than one answer helps perfectionist students grow as calculated academic risk-takers. Alphametic puzzles are one tool that I use.


Alphametics are clever math word expressions that substitute letters for digits in basic addition problems. Kids can be easily frustrated with these puzzles if they’re just left to plugging and chugging random numbers until they find an answer that works.  But, when they receive a few minutes of training and encouragement in how to look for patterns and number relationships, thereby strengthening logic and reasoning skills, their success rate soars – and so does their confidence.


Alessa Giampaolo Keener loves creating learning tools that nurture the whole child. Find out more about alphametic puzzles and how to solve them with your elementary students.