Mind Games 2020

  •   This year the Mind Games competitions will take place at the Arthur Ashe Center on
    Thursday- April 23, 2020, at 9:30 AM for Second and Third Graders and
    Friday, April 24, 2020, for Fourth and Fifth Graders.

    Purpose: Mind Games has two goals: to promote intellectual skills through friendly competition and to build the self-confidence of the contestants. There are no losers in Mind Games! Everyone selected to participate is a winner. The object of the games is for the students to compete skillfully and cooperate as a team to do their best.

    Mind Games is divided into four separate competitions.  This guide is divided into four parts giving pertinent instructions and sample problems for each.  Although time constraints may require the competitions to be conducted in a different order, they are as follows:

    Competition I – P3: Puzzles, Pieces, and Possibilities
    Greene Team The P3 Competition - Puzzles, Pieces and Possibilities - replaced the General Knowledge competition. P3 contains a menagerie of puzzles and prompts to use critical thinking skills.  Students will be given several puzzles to solve which may include a tiling, tessellation or tangram transformation where instructions, clues and logical thinking will lead to a prescribed new shape or coverage of an area.  The tiling or tangram puzzle pieces provided should be manually manipulated and then glued to the paper provided to convey the team’s answer based on the given clues.  

    Inductive reasoning skills will be tapped as students rearrange letters in their minds to solve Bananagram word puzzles and answering questions requiring drawing inferences based on short stories.  As students skillfully analyze properties and component parts of pictures and images, they will able to predict visual or numerical patterns.  Last, but not least, students will be challenged to solve, and algebraic systems of equations that have been converted to number sentences, mystery numbers, Venn diagrams and magic cubes with shapes representing numbers.

    Competition II: Productive ThinkingP3

    In this competition, students will be asked to use their productive thinking skills to think of many, varied, unusual responses to a question.  Students will be given a creative, open-ended problem and 15 minutes to respond.  The students will be expected to:

    1.  brainstorm as many responses as possible
    2.  evaluate their work and select the best 20.

    Time for steps one and two will be announced.  In scoring, there will be a strong emphasis on the quality of responses as well as the quantity.

    Practicing Productive Thinking

    When students practice productive thinking, coaches should aim for many, varied, unusual responses.   Focus on generating as many ideas as possible when you first begin this training.  Ask students to suspend judgment for a time, and encourage them to become free in their creativity.  Students will think of as many ideas as they can.  Help them try to keep thinking, even when they seem to run out of ideas.  

    As training advances, begin asking students to identify which are the more unusual ideas.  Have them begin thinking about the quality of the responses they make and which are the most original.  Often you will find that the ideas they think of at first are not as unusual as the ones they come up with after they have been trying a while.  Often, that is when the best ideas come.  Your goal is to encourage students to come up with a lot of highly creative responses

    Competition III:  Logic

    Logic This contest calls upon the student's skill in completing analogies and sequences and in solving deductive reasoning problems.  There will be three different problems to solve.   Logic Problem 1 will consist of 10 sequences; Logic Problem 2 will consist of 10 analogies; Logic Problems 3 will consist of matrix or other types of logic problems.  Sample problems are listed below: 


    Look carefully at the relationship between the first two words.  Find the word that is related to the third word in the same way the first two words are related.  Write that word on the line. 

    • big is to little as last is to _____________Logic 4-5
    • first is to second as third is to __________
    • Lisa is to girl as maple is to ____________


    • 4, 10, 16, 22,________
    • 3, 7, 11, 15,________
    • 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10,________ 

    Matrix Logic

    Matrix logic requires the use of a grid.  Students will be provided a grid at Mind Games, however, answers must be written in the blanks provided below.  The solutions are not considered complete until the answer blanks are filled.  Matrix logic problems give you two or more lists of things and ask you to match each item in one list with an item in the other list.  Finding the answers through the process of elimination is much easier if you make a grid showing one list in rows down the side and the other in columns across the top.  Fill in the squares or circle your selections as you move through the grid or perplexor as you read the clues.

    Competition IV:  Construction

    Using the engineering design process and a little ingenuity, teams will be assigned a problem to solve using materials common to all. Below are Construction 4-5 some sample construction problems, which your team can work on.  These are similar to the problems, which they will be given during the competition.

    Make sure that your team knows the four criteria for awarding points in this competition.  These are as follows:

    1.  Completion of construction.
    1.  Performance - construction does what it is required to do.
    1.  Durability - construction passes the stress test specified in the problem.
    1.  Finally, be sure your team practices using a time limit.

    Note:  There will be a 3-minute planning time before construction begins.  Contestants may handle materials but may not connect or alter them until the construction period begins.  All parts must be separated - not connected - at the end of the planning period.

     Suggested Design Challenges:

    1.  Give students a box of drinking straws and a box of paper clips or a bag of marshmallows.  Instruct them to build a freestanding tower at least four feet tall.  This tower should withstand the wind of a fan for 30 seconds.
    1.  Give students Popsicle sticks, glue, rubber bands, twist ties and other fasteners.  Have them construct a structure at least six inches high, which will support a brick above ground.
    1.  Give students a handful of pipe cleaners and a paper cup full of water.  Have them construct a device, which will support the cup securely between two straight -backed chairs.  
    1.  Give students an assortment of miscellaneous materials and instruct them to construct a container which will protect an egg from breaking when it is dropped from at least 8 feet above ground.  
    1.  Go over the simple and compound machines and how they may work together to perform a    task.  (Examples could include; wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, screw, etc.)
    1.   Practice building vehicles making sure all the elements work.  Try adding power to your vehicle by propelling it with rubber bands, balloons, or other wind sources