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February 25, 2007

First Evening Class: Getting children to make their own puzzles

The first class was with the first group. These were the advanced learners and had children generally between grade 4 and 8. Chutti and Badri were part of this group. Anu had taken the precaution of leaving us (me, Anita and Mabhu) with the kids after checking that I could communicate a few words in Tamil.
I had put down an analytical puzzle with four people sitting around a round table with three constraints. The children solved it in a few minutes. After this I divided the group of 10 odd kids into three teams. Ani and Mabhu also joined two of the groups. The plan was for the first team to come up with a puzzle for the second team, the second to come up with a third and the third to the first.
This worked out really well, it was amazing how the children were working with one another without distinguishing age or learning capacity. Two of the groups continued to use the four people around a table. The third group came up with a six-person puzzle with two fixed locations and five constraints. This time around I asked that anyone solving it also keep in mind the constraints they used and the order. It turned out that only three of the constraints were needed.
Here is my recollection of the puzzle. Enjoy:
A, B, C, D, E, F
(Actually, it was much more colorful than this since the alphabets stood for the first letters of names in Tamil, English and Chinese)
Locations 1 2 3 4 5 6 are around the circle. Location 2 = A and 4 = B. Condition:
a) C and D sit next to each other
b) E does not sit opposite C
c) D sits next to A

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