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November 11, 2013

Solving puzzles: Quiet time

I have been putting up mathematical puzzles at Udavi for about 3 months in the area for sections 7th to 10th grade. I have been getting responses mainly from a few kids in the 10th grade. The other kids have not been as involved in solving puzzles. I noticed that in the younger grades (6th) the teacher does put up puzzles occasionally and thought it would be interesting to pursue the solving puzzles there.

I created a couple of puzzles that were visual (match stick puzzles) and put them up in the 6th grade. Again I found that 2-3 children were keen on solving it, but the rest were not able to. We then had a class to solve the puzzles.

I had been working with these kids for a couple of months now and had noticed that the classroom gets pretty noisy as the kids who 'got it' were too eager to sprout out the answer and the kids who had 'not yet got it' were all to comfortable not having to think. I had been working with the kids to do individual work in the notebooks without having to raise their hands or talk allowing me and the other teacher to go around and look at their work. The classroom had been marginally quieter at times. Of course there is an equal mix of group activities (games) or discussion time (sometimes moderated) and hearing about each others work.

In this class, we took a step further. There were enough puzzles for someone to continue solving if they finished one and they were asked to work on this and try to create a quiet space to allow them to think. The teacher and I went around to see how the kids were doing. Occasionally, we encouraged the class that they could do it and just needed to relax and find their quiet space.

That class was magical, the children were able to find their space and over 80% of them were able to solve the puzzles on their own. The other 20% needed individual time from us to ask them questions that led them to think of the answer and elliminate the impossible that they were stuck with.

Unfortunately, with everything magical, it has been difficult to replicate. But, there are now more children that attempt puzzles and also ask for it when I am in class.

We have now been slowly moving from visual puzzles to ones with numbers and in a more recent class we all created puzzles of our own.

1 comment:

Siva said...

I have some modules that I try out for 6-12th standard. They are more conventional. If you are interested then it could be tried out.