Activity

# Snowman Sudoku: Logical Thinking

## Build your logical thinking skills with fun Sudoku puzzles!

Logical thinking is defined as analyzing a situation or problem using reason and coming up with potential solutions. Logical thinking is an essential problem-solving skill that all students should develop. So, what is a fun way to develop logical thinking skills for students? Sudoku!

## Sudoku

Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. Some people approach Sudoku as a game of luck – these players guess which numbers (or words) belong in each empty space. However, Sudoku is designed to be a game of logic and skill, not luck. Efficient Sudoku players recognize patterns and spot opportunities. There is no “luck” in “logic”.

Sudoku uses the power of simple deductive reasoning and the process of elimination to fill in the gaps. Did you know that there are step-by-step guide books for master level Sudoku players and for players of all levels? If you plan to become a serious Sudoku player, check out these books!

## Students: Beginner level Sudoku

For students, let’s start simple with the standard 4×4 grid. Instead of numbers, let’s use images. As always, students who are braille readers learn best when initially given tactile resources before digital resources. Sudoku game play can be done with images or words because – well, just because they are students and students like season-themed activities! Repeating activities periodically throughout the year is a great way to reinforce skills; so pull progressively more challenging Sudoku puzzles for each season! This post includes a 4×4 grid with a snowman theme. However, the activity can be done with any 4×4 puzzle – or expand the 4×4 grid to a larger, more challenging grid!

With the Snowman Sudoku 1 puzzle, the 4×4 puzzle grid named four snowman items (snowman, carrot, hat, and twig arms) and provided 3 or 4 filled in snowman items in each row. Logically, students will start with the row or column that has 3 squares filled in. Since a row or column cannot repeat an item, it is obvious what the last item in the row/column will be! Each filled in square leads to the next row or column to be filled in.

The Snowman Sudoku 1 has silhouette images. This puzzle can be run through a tactile graphics machine to create raised images and lines. Many low vision students prefer silhouette images in print or digital format. (Note: The text version below mirrors the silhouette version and is fully accessible.)

The screenshot below is the Snowman Sudoku 1 text version is the written words in a digital table for students using a screen reader.

Download the accessible Word version of the Snowman Sudoku Text.

Use the digital text version to teach/reinforce tech skills, specifically how to navigate a table with a screen reader!

Note: It is easy to create a table in Pages for the iPad. However, the formatting is lost when uploaded to the Paths to Technology website. However, you can easily create your own accessible table/Sudoku puzzle. (See previous post for details on how to create and navigate a table in Pages.)

## Students: Next level Sudoku puzzle

Without making the grid larger, let’s challenge your student’s logical thinking skills!

The image below is the original Snowman Sudoku 2. (Images in color)

The text version in Word is also available. Download the accessible Snowman Sudoku 2 text here.

Try to solve the puzzle. Can you? Did you notice what is different? Only three items were given in this 4×4 grid. Put your thinking cap on. . . can you complete the grid with only 3 items? Remember, you cannot repeat an item in any given row or column.

What can you do? You have to add another item! Let’s add twigs for the snowman’s arms. Apply your logical thinking skills here – do not guess.

Need a subtle hint? Since no row or column has 3 items, you must think outside the box. Is there anything with three in a row?

Need a direct hint? Look at the diagonal from bottom left to top right. This diagonal has three in a row, so you KNOW which item belongs in the top right. With the top right filled in, you can now logically conclude the rest of the puzzle.

## Progression

What’s next? Try a 5×5 Sudoku puzzle with these items: Snowman, carrot, hat, twigs, and scarf.

Teacher’s hint: If you are creating an accessible Sudoku puzzle, you can take an already made puzzle and simply substitute your images or text. Or fill out a Sudoku puzzle and then systematically remove items – making sure that your puzzle can be solved with logical thinking (and not guessing).

Now try Sudoku puzzles with numbers, building to larger puzzles!

## Digital Sudoku puzzles

In a previous post, Halloween Sudoku Puzzle: Grids and Tables, we learned how to create an accessible digital Sudoku puzzle substituting Halloween-themed words for the Halloween images. The post included how to create an accessible grid/table on an iPad using the Pages app and then how to navigate this table with VoiceOver. The same grid/table activity can be done on other devices using other screen readers.

### Resource

by Diane Brauner 1/26/23