Math = Love: Strimko Logic Puzzle Review

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Strimko Logic Puzzle Review

About a month ago, I was contacted by the Grabarchuk Family who are the creators of Strimko logic puzzles to see if I would be interested in reviewing one of their new puzzle books. Being the puzzle lover that I am, I had to say YES! So, full disclosure: I received the book mentioned in this post for free in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own. This post does contain affiliate links. If you click on a link to purchase, I will receive a small portion of your purchase price. This does not cost you anything!

http://amzn.to/2D3mRT9

Two days later, this beauty of a book showed up in my mailbox. I was so excited, I had to take a photo to tweet about it!

http://amzn.to/2D3mRT9

I received Strimko Book 1 in the mail. But, there are several other strimko puzzle books available on the market at the moment. I recommend Strimko Book 1 for those puzzlers who are new to solving Strimko puzzles. Book 1 features puzzles in multiple sizes, so the puzzles grow in complexity as you work your way through solving them.

Once you are familiar with the different sizes of puzzles and their inherent difficulty levels, you can enjoy even more puzzling by checking out the books which feature 150 different puzzles of a single size.

Looking for a relatively easy puzzling experience? Check out the 4 x 4 puzzles. These are the size of puzzle I use with my high school students. I'll share more about that later, though!  The 5 x 5 puzzles are rated as "Medium." Unless you have students who are well versed in solving logic puzzles, this is probably the highest difficulty I would use regularly in the classroom.

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The 6 x 6 puzzles are ranked as "Hard," and the 7 x 7 puzzles are intended for "Masters." While I would recommend these for your own personal enjoyment, I believe the puzzles are a bit too complex to be used by most students.

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I love these puzzles for several reasons.

1. The rules are easy to explain. Have you ever tried to teach a student how to solve a sudoku puzzle or kenken puzzle when they have never seen one before? It is a challenging task. I taught each of my classes to solve these puzzles in about two to three minutes.

2. The puzzles have a special appeal for those who enjoy other logic puzzle types like those mentioned above. But, many of my students who have no clue what a sudoku puzzle even is were able to enjoy solving these puzzles.

3. These puzzles give you just enough information to solve them without being too obvious. When I sit down to solve these, my initial thought is usually that there isn't enough information. However, after studying the puzzle for a bit, I can always find a cleverly disguised clue that breaks open the puzzle for solving.

4. Compared to other puzzle books, the strimko puzzle books are very affordably priced! At under $5 per book, these make a perfect gift for a puzzle loving friend or yourself!

Earlier, I said that these puzzles had easy-to-grasp rules. So, what are those rules? There are only three rules to learn.

Image Source: http://www.strimko.com/download/StrimkoPack1_4x4.pdf

The first two rules (each row must contain different numbers and each column must contain different numbers) are traditional rules associated with a latin square puzzle. The third rule brings the twist that makes strimko puzzles exciting. It states that "each stream must contain different numbers." In each puzzle, some of the circles are connected by lines. Each set of connected circles forms a stream.

Still confused? Here's an example 3 x 3 puzzle worked out in steps by the Grabarchuk family.

Image source: http://www.strimko.com/download/StrimkoPack1_4x4.pdf
When I used these puzzles with my students, I found that I didn't need to show them this example of a completed puzzle. Once they heard the rules, they just jumped right in. I did have a few students who were absent the day I assigned the puzzles. For these students, I printed off a copy of the sample solve puzzle to attach to their puzzle sheet.


I first used these puzzles with my freshmen Algebra 1 students. They LOVED them. When I announced that I would be giving the more puzzles the following week, many students assumed that I would be giving them more strimko puzzles. When I gave them a different type of puzzle the next week, I had some very frustrated students. So, take it from my students: these puzzles are a definite winner!

I also teach a chemistry class for juniors/seniors. Some of my chemistry students saw the underclassmen working on puzzles for my class. Soon, I was being questioned why I never gave their class puzzles. I came down with a cold a few weeks ago, and I needed something to keep my chemistry class busy for about half a class period. I didn't have the energy to start the next chemistry topic due to being sick, so it was strimko puzzles to the rescue. For weeks afterwards, my students asked if I was going to give them "more of those puzzles."
Image Source: http://www.strimko.com/download/StrimkoPack1_4x4.pdf
These puzzles are addictive. If reading this blog post has given you the urge to solve some of the puzzles on your own, I have some awesome news for you. The Grabarchuk Family has posted a free set of 24 4 x 4 strimko puzzles (easy level) on their website for you to download for free. This small sampler of puzzles should tide you over until your puzzle book (or books) arrive in the mail from Amazon!

These logic puzzles are great for puzzle lovers and those wishing to encourage logical thinking in their students. Thank you to the Grabarchuk Family for letting me check out another one of their amazing puzzle books for free! Their puzzles are top notch, and I can't recommend them enough.


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