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English Puzzles

Changing Illusions


(You will need Shockwave for this site.)

Do you know what an optical illusion is? It's when you think you see something, but it's not really what you think! This site has 5 very interesting optical illusions. Read the instruction, then use the dial to move the illusion. Can you find the right answers? Click on REVEAL ILLUSION to check your anwers.


Your Turn:
Read "What's Going On?" and answer these questions:

1) Why do people see optical illusions?
2) Why are scientists interested in optical illusions?
3) Who was Purkinje?



This is a really fun site where you can try lots of puzzles, brain teasers, illusions, and games. Here's an example of a brain teaser:

Pam's mother, Mrs. Smith, had four children.
The oldest, a boy, was named north.
The next oldest, a girl, was named south.
The third child, a boy, was named east.
The youngest child was a girl.
What was her first name?

(Click on "The Youngest Child" for the answer!)

Lesson Corner


LessonCorner's Puzzle Makers allows you to find or create your own free custom word search, scramble or crossword puzzles.



Here are some fun, but tricky, word puzzles. Read them carefully before you answer them. For example:

Q: A certain five letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it. What is the word?

A: Short.


Your Turn:
Many of the answers are based on words that have two meanings. For example:

Q: What two words have the most letters in it?

A: Post Office.

This is the answer because the word "letters" has two meanings. Try to find other puzzles that have double meanings in the answer. What are the double meanings?



If you like putting jigsaw puzzles together, you'll love this site! Here you'll find 350 pictures, from easy ones with only 6 pieces to difficult ones with 240 pieces. Just choose a puzzle and then use your mouse to drag and drop the pieces. If you find the right piece, the 2 pieces will become one piece. If you can't find a piece, click on SOLVE and the computer will find one for you.


Your Turn:
After you solve your puzzle, look carefully at the picture. Write a short description of the picture. Write about the colors, shapes, and things in the picture. Do you like the picture? Why or why not?

Lateral Puzzles


Lateral puzzles are stories that don't seem to make sense, or are very confusing. They are also called brain teasers. Here's an example of a lateral puzzle:

A man entered a city art gallery and did terrible damage to some valuable Impressionist paintings. Later that day, instead of being arrested, the man was thanked by the gallery curator and the mayor. Why?

At this site, people ask questions about the puzzle and try to solve it. For example:

-Did either the curator or the mayor know that the man had damaged the paintings? 
-Did the man repair the damage (that he had made) during the course of the day? 
-Were the paintings the man's own work?

You can read SOLVED PUZZLES or PUZZLES (puzzles that have not been solved yet). If you register, you can send in questions or even start your own puzzle! By the way, to find out what happened at the art gallery, look for BAD IMPRESSION under "SOLVED PUZZLES VOL. 1"


Your Turn:
These puzzles are fun to solve as a group. Look at one of the solved puzzles. Have one person read the answer. Now other people in the group can ask questions. Can your group find the answer?

Magic Card Tricks


Card tricks are a fun way to entertain and amaze your friends. At this site, you'll find lots of great card tricks. Some are easy to learn, and some are more difficult.


Your Turn:
Find one or two card tricks that you want to learn. Read about how to do the tricks, and then practice. Of course, one of the most important parts of a card trick is the "patter" (what you say when you're doing the trick). Write your patter for the tricks you want to learn. Your patter should be friendly and funny. Practice doing your tricks along with the patter, until they're perfect. Now you're ready to amaze your friends!

Picture Puzzles


This site is called "Puzzlers" and has many different puzzles that you can try. On this list, you will find 12 different "Picture Puzzles" pages. These puzzles are fun ways to play with words. You have to look at the word picture and try to guess the word or phrase. Here's an example:

NOON T2HE = (2 in the afternoon)


Your Turn:
After you try to guess these picture puzzles, try to make your own. Think of a word or phrase, and then make a word picture for it. Show it to your classmates and see if they can guess what it means.



Here's a great site for both teachers and students. With Puzzlemaker, you can make 11 different word puzzles, number puzzles, and mazes. It's great for teachers who need a fun way to introduce or review vocabulary, and it's a fun activity for students to try in class. The site is easy to use. Just enter the words or information that you want to use, and the computer will make the puzzle. Then just print it out!


Your Turn:
Students: Use the vocabulary that you've learned to create a puzzle. If all your classmates create different puzzles, you can make your own puzzle book!



Are you a "riddle nut?" Riddles are word games that you have to think hard about to find the answer! For example:

"I have a big mouth and I am also quite loud! I am NOT a gossip but I do get involved with everyone's dirty business. Can you name me?"

The answer is: a vacuum cleaner!

You'll find 668 riddles on this site! Just click on NEXT RIDDLE or enter a number to jump to any riddle. Click on ANSWER PLEASE to read the answer. (But try to think of the answer before you click!)


Your Turn:
Try to write your own riddle. To write a good riddle, you should think of the answer first! After you decide on the answer, write some clues to help people think of the answer. But don't make it too easy. When you finish, see if your classmates can answer your riddle.

Rubik's Cube


Rubik's Cube is one of the most popular puzzles of all time. This online version is very cool. To solve this puzzle, you have to make each of the six sides a solid color. (For example, one side is blue, another side is red, etc.) Use your mouse to turn the faces or the whole cube. There are only 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different combinations, so it should be easy!

If you have trouble solving the Rubik's Cube, here are some hints! Here is a complete Rubik's Cube solution!


Your Turn:
Read about the history of Rubik's Cube! Who invented it? Where was it invented? What year was it invented? When did it first become very popular?

St. Patrick's Irish Word Puzzle


Here's a fun word puzzle to try for St. Patrick's Day. Try to find the words at the bottom of the page hidden in the puzzle. Good luck!


Your Turn:
Find out more about St. Patrick's Day and St. Patrick himself! Read this page and then write a short quiz for your classmates. What did you learn about this fun day?

Vanity License Plates


Vanity license plates are special plates that people can put their own message on. Usually the message is about the driver's job, car, or personality. This site has more than 1000 real vanity plates from all over the U.S. For example:

2TH DR (Tooth doctor; on a dentist's car)
I12BUGU (I want to bug you; on a VW Bug)
MTBRAIN (Empty Brain)


Your Turn:
Look at some of these vanity plate messages. Try to guess what the meaning is. Then try to write your own vanity plate. It should be something that means something personal to you. Remember that you can't use more than 8 numbers or letters.




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