GRIT and Growth Mindset are the hot topics in the classroom at the moment and for very good reason. However, most products, blog posts, and resources only discuss what it is, what it looks like, and the importance of it. This line of products allows you to explicitly teach it.
***This product line has been updated, many of the challenges now have a digital counterpart and work perfectly as a Google Slide assignment! See product descriptions for more information.
Facilitate Failure in the Classroom:
These activities are designed to make your students struggle and fail, tossing them into the depths of the learning pit. Sounds a little harsh? Maybe. But I can’t think of a better place, than the safety of the classroom, in a controlled environment for students to exercise grit and growth mindset than under the watchful eye of a loving teacher. By facilitating failure you and your students are able to pinpoint those tough emotions, negative thoughts, and capitalize on them.
My team and I would introduce this type of activity during the first week of school. This thoughtful idea to introduce failure came from one of my favorite colleagues. We used it for the first day of math class. Based on what we observed, experienced, and discussed this type of activity will forever hold a spot in the first week of school lineup. Probably the most surprising outcome of this activity was the way my more gifted and talented students responded. When you think of it… the students with the least amount of exposure to exercising grit or a growth mindset are the students that school comes easiest to. The grittiest students are those that are used to struggling and working hard every. single. day. There is so much value in these lessons and the discussions and experiences they bring. It is simply not enough to define what Grit and a Growth Mindset is, it must be practiced, and it needs to be practiced in a controlled environment where you can mentor them through their thought process. Instead of hoping they apply what you discussed in a lesson when their trial comes along.
A tough activity designed to encourage failure is the perfect discussion starter as to why it is so important we facilitate a growth mindset and know what GRIT is. Once introduced I continue to introduce approximately one new activity a week until the end of the year. I like to give students about a week per activity. This gives them time to wrestle strategies or questions and ponder on the challenge at hand. ***Remember a key component of GRIT is endurance. Grit is something displayed over time. As tempting as it is to give them the answers they so desperately want, the wrestle is the most important part. With many of these challenges, the solution is SIMPLE. However, it requires the students to think outside the box. This thought process will not come if time is not afforded. Plus the joy and satisfaction are that much greater once a struggle and multiple failures have been encountered.
My favorite part of this product is the reflection sheet. Students identify an emotion on the learning pit that best illustrates where they were before the activity ended. The reflection page is only included in the paid products. This means the Big Scribb, The Bewilderer, & The Nuisance (Challenges 6 & 7) do not include the reflection page.
If you love this activity and you’re on board with facilitating failure throughout the school year, make sure to check out these activities! Remember the reflection sheets are included with the paid challenges.
- The Nitty Gritty Triangle Activity 1
- The Nitty Gritty Tangle Activity 2
- The Nitty Gritty Puzzler Activity 3
- The Nitty Gritty Confuzzler Activity 4
- The Nitty Gritty Scribbler Activity 5
The Following Downloads are FREE or include a FREE Sample. In order to access these freebies, you will need to be a member of On Lemon Lane! Not a member, not a problem? Sign-up is free and easy, peasy, lemon squeezy! Click here to become a member.
- The Nitty Gritty Thingamajig Challenge 6: FREE
- The Nitty Gritty Bewilderer Challenge 7: FREE Sample Available
- The Big Scribb Whole Class Activity: FREE
Keep Reading for Access to Samples, and FREE DOWNLOADS!
If you plan to use these challenges throughout the school year, purchasing the bundle is your best choice and gives you the best value. This product includes access to over 60 pages and 35 DIGITAL and Printable Activities. You can also purchase the challenges individually, see descriptions for more information.
Students will complete the Magic Math Triangle, where all digits along the perimeter of the triangle must add up to the given magic sum. There are two triangles with 4 possible magic sums totaling 8 activities! There is a signature section where you can require the student to get a signature from you, a classmate, or their own before moving on. ANSWER KEY is included! Take each challenge a step further and see if the students can find multiple solutions per magic number Triangle. Great for critical and higher-level thinking. This activity requires a minimum of 20 minutes per triangle. By no means will a student finish all 4 triangle challenges, unless you stretch the challenges out.
The Nitty Gritty Tangle is a great way to challenge younger students or start off on a lighter note. Don’t be fooled. These mazes are not for the faint of heart. There are a total of 7 mazes that are scaffolded to build confidence, while still facilitating a challenge.
The Puzzler, is named appropriately. This challenge includes 4 different puzzles and trust me, your students will struggle to complete them. Remember these activities are intended to cause frustration, disappointment, in order to better explain Grit and Growth Mindset. These puzzles are fun and will cause excitement and strain as students work to solve them. Two of the puzzles allow students to actually cut out the pieces to be manipulated. Great for that kinesthetic experience! Another however strictly requires only mental computation, this component truly causes a strain.
The Confuzzler is SO fun and SO hard. I guarantee failure on this one. The best part is the answers are right in front of you and they become SO obvious once you finally know it! The Confuzzler includes 4 different types of word puzzles made up of: Rebuses, (Rebus), anagrams, pangrams, brainteasers, matchstick, logic puzzles, and more! Give these time to marinate. The worst thing you can do is give the answers too quickly. In fact, you could try your hand at these along with the students!
One of these activities will work as a digital product, however, it works best as a printable
The Nitty Gritty Scribbler includes over 28 pages such as:
- Tricky Triple Diamond Sketch Puzzle
- Impossible Envelope Brain Teaser Sketch Puzzle
- Scattered Grid Puzzle Page
- Distorted Grid Drawing Pages
- Symmetry Drawing Pages
- Grid Method Drawing Pages
- Extreme Dot to Dot
- Grit Detailed Coloring Pages
- Growth Mindset Coloring Pages
- + MORE
The Following Challenges are Free Activities or include a Free Sample
These are available to members of On Lemon Lane! In order to access any of the Free Downloads, you will need to be logged into your account.
The Nitty Gritty Thingamajig is a fun bunch of challenges with a more kinesthetic vibe! From folding origami to solving the Impossible Paper Trick! I’ve also included links to videos of my other favorite paper puzzles and tricks that all require a few supplies to complete, all of which can be found around the classroom! As an added bonus, the Nitty Gritty Thingamajig also includes intricate coloring pages that you or your students can edit the Growth Mindset Quote the print and color!
ALL OF THIS is available FREE to you!
In order to access these FREE challenges of the Free Downloads, you will need to be logged into your account.
7. The Nitty Gritty Bewilderer Activity 7: FREE SAMPLE available To Members of On Lemon Lane (Digital & Printable)
Ancient Chinese Legend tells of a turtle with a curious pattern found on his shell. It wasn’t until someone looked closer that they realized the pattern was in fact a magic square! A magic square is filled with consecutive numbers in a way that the sum of each row, column, and diagonal all add up to the same number. Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin without the help of a calculator, even created a 16 x 16 magic square over 200 years ago! He is quoted saying, “[it] is the most magically magical of any magic square ever made by any magician.” The Nitty Gritty Bewliderer allows students to dive deep into these magical shapes all while practicing Grit and developing a Growth Mindset! This Activity includes both DIGITAL and Printable activities!
As discussed previously, I’ve created a free sample of this challenge for you and your class! The Free Sample is made up of two challenges based on the 3 x 3 Magic Square. This puzzle can be assigned as either a digital or printable! Click on the link below to check out the FREE Sample of the Nitty Gritty Bewilderer Challenge #7
You must be logged into your On Lemon Lane Account to Access Free Download!
8. The Big Scribb Whole-Class Collaboration Challenge: (Printable)
Essentially this project is a mural that is created in pieces by students in your class. Students have no idea what the end result or picture will be and instead are asked to focus on their small tile and to recreate the image assigned to them with as much accuracy as they can.
I’ve included two options for the mural. Based on which tile you have students recreate their assigned design will result in either a 3 x 3 ft mural, or a 5 x 5ft mural! One of the wonderful details about this project is that up to 64 students can be involved in this project. You are also able to easily differentiate with the tiles because the designs on the tile vary from all levels of difficulty.
As far as I’m concerned there’s no better place to foster failure than in the classroom, with a teacher like you as their guide through the depths of the learning pit. Skills like these will carry students through more than just academics.
Be on the lookout for my Grit & Growth Mindset Bulletin Board Kit ***COMING SOON!
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