Giotto, the logic game

The theme of last week’s class was logic.  As one of the main activities, we played the game of Giotto.  It is similar in spirit to Mastermind, but has a nice language component to it (we also played it last year with Katie and Varya, as described here).  The code is a word, and the guesses have to be words as well.  For each word, the code-breaker gets a score – the number of letters in the guess that also appear in the code word.  So if the code is salt and someone guesses cast, then the guess gets a score of 3 (for the a, s, and t).

What surprised me most was how hard it was for the kids to come up with 4-letter words (apparently this also happened with Katie and Varya last year, but I didn’t remember that until I reread the post 🙂 ).  While a few of the kids generated quite a few, some didn’t get a single one.  After a score was given for a word, we’d discuss with the kids what we learned.  Did we find out that some letter is definitely in the word or definitely not in the word?

At first the kids would get disappointed by a score of 0.  However, after a while they discovered that 0 was actually very valuable (often more so than a 1 or 2).  Overall, it was very nice to see the kids working together as a team.  Some of the kids that were having a hard time coming up with words helped by coming up with the logical deductions.  Several kids asked why we were playing this game in math class and argued that it belonged in the Russian class.  I explained that this game required logic and logic is a part of math.

For homework, the kids had to figure out the words for several “mock” games.  The guesses were given to them, along with the scores.  There was enough information to figure out the four letters – the only language skill at that point was to put them together into a word.  Here are two problems similar to the ones that we gave.  Can you figure out the words?

Game 1:

MOST – 0
CAST – 2
KITE – 2
LIST – 0

Game 2:

BAKE – 3
KILT – 0
RAKE – 3

About aofradkin

I enjoy thinking about presenting mathematical concepts to young children in exciting and engaging ways.
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4 Responses to Giotto, the logic game

  1. ykats says:

    “MOST 1” in the 1st game looks wrong to me, no?


  2. David says:

    Also, in your example in the first paragraph, “cast” should get a score of 3, for a, s, and t.

    And your second puzzle has two common (and one less common) anagrams!


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