On the 7th day of Christmas, my gift to you is -
Reindeer Squares are Latin Squares with a holiday theme. If you are not familiar with Latin Squares, they are square arrays of n x n rows and columns. N items fill the cells so that no item is used more than once in each row and column. In mathematics, they are used for statistical analysis.
When you use Reindeer Squares with your class, you will teach your students deductive reasoning. You could tell them that, or just let them believe you are allowing them to have lots of fun.
Begin by demonstrating how a 3 x 3 array works.
Give your students a 4 x 4 board along with 4 reindeer tiles each of 4 colors. Challenge them to place their tiles on the board without repeating a color in any row or column. Although someone is bound to discover that making diagonal stripes will lead to an easy solution, don't let the learning stop there. For a 3 x 3 array, there are 12 possible solutions. Dare them to find all 12. For a 4 x 4 array, there are 576 permutations! The 7 x 7 array has 61,479,419,904,000 solutions! Now that's a challenge any bright, gifted, and/or talented child should love.
As a teacher who is dedicated to differentiated instruction, I have used Reindeer Squares successfully with 1st through 5th graders. During this exciting time of year, I find that the children will welcome this activity and commit to the task. That's no small feat in December!
I'm please to offer Reindeer Squares to you for free. But, don't procrastinate. It's only free for 48 hours.
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