Lesson Plan

Puzzling Problem Sovling Games - #WithMathICan

While playing 2 popular puzzle games students will work on problem solving skills while being fully entertained
James T.
Classroom teacher
Saint Benedict Prep, Chicago, Illinois
Show More
My Grades K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

While playing these unique indie games students will naturally be able to master problem solving skills by picking  up on patterns and guessing and checking. Students will be able to plan their in game decisions by working backwards and working towards a goal. Students will be working together at times and by learning from others via discussion and recording those discoveries as they are found, a growth mindset is encouraged by highlighting the construction of knowledge as a group.

Grades 4 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Challenge

Both games offer instructions within, and both games are great to have students work on their problem solving skills. 

Students are allowed to work on this during free time or when they have completed all their work.

To introduce the game, display it on your smart board and complete a couple of levels with students. 

  • Since this will be a long-term, self paced lesson. It would be wise to chart student progress. Have students let others know what level they are on so they can discuss their problems in groups of students around the same level. Perhaps have them keep a journal update once a week on any progress they have made, problems they have currently, and ways they are going to try to solve the problem.  


2 Individual Practice (Self Paced) - Prune

When introducing Prune to students show how you are able to control the growth of the tree. Helping the tree blossom under certain conditions, by cutting away useless branches.

This game is a great way for students to practice visualizing how to focus only on the important information. If they do not cut away the smaller branches they will not pass the level, they are forced to focus on the stronger branches to succeed. Students learning on how to successfully take notes will benefit from this and will remind them of the Topic/Main Ideas/Major and Minor Details while in LA.

This game also has multiple ways to pass a level. Students are encouraged to be creative and problem solve. Students will need to try certain levels many times, trying different strategies by guessing and checking. 

When a student has an issue, its best to take small steps and go slow, develop a plan, test it, and then improve upon it while the student observes. Have them group up and discuss their plans with a partner

Student Instructions

When you are finished with all your required work, you may continue playing Monument Valley/Prune. You may work alone, or in groups of 2. 

3 Individial Practce (Self Paced) - Monument Valley

Students will be forced to think differently in order to complete these "impossible" puzzles. Students will be required to think long and hard, and try several different solutions before finding the final correct solution. Students might become frustrated but by taking small steps, and making goals, students will find that all the puzzles are completely manageable. 

Students will need to work backwards at certain points, as well as completing smaller problems in order to complete larger ones. Working individually would be ideal, however working in groups could lend to less student frustration. 

Student Instructions

When you are finished with all your required work, you may continue playing Monument Valley/Prune. You may work alone, or in groups of 2. 

4 Conclusion

Activity: Conversing

Whenever time is available  bring the students together and discuss any problems they had, and how they solved them. For example;

"Did anyone else have the same or a similar challenge but approached it differently?"
Was anyone able to complete level 5? How did you do it, how many tries did it take you?