The future of picture-forming puzzles in education: NCTA Puzzle Course III, Fall 2004Sunday, March 6, 2005
The Future of Conceptis Type Image-Forming Puzzles In Education. This is the title of the final paper required of teachers who took my Fall course, described in the September PuzzleTimes (“Picture-Forming Logic Puzzles for Classroom Use”). Overall, the course went very well, with some changes along the way. Excerpts of these papers and syllabus of the course are linked below.
Each teacher was required to prepare and use two out of three suggested activities, with email comments for “class discussion" each week, at least three comments to the Puzzles and Classrooms discussion at the Puzzles and Kids Forum and a final paper, along with photographs of activities.
In practice, the 2 Link-a-Pix activities were too time-consuming and adjustments had to be made. Teachers needed more preparation time for the Link-a-Pix activities and needed time and practice to overcome their own initial confusion. Not one was able to do the entire Computer Keyboard within the allotted time, but settled for a few capital letters or numbers for each child.
Several teachers intend to continue the activity throughout the year until there can be a full display. Because of the time required, only one teacher chose to do an abbreviated form of the World Map activity, but intends to continue throughout the year until it is completed.
Not all the students were able to do the Link-a-Pix puzzles independently, because of individual differences in learning styles; but teachers let them help each other, which added a dimension of socialization skill development.
All teachers chose the inverted Maze-a-Pix activity, which went very well with no changes. Preparation involved samples of “standard” mazes, which the children loved and did well without much need for help. The inverted Maze-a-Pix added another dimension as teachers were able to communicate the differences. The children enjoyed them and wanted more.
I believe that the best currently known type of image-forming puzzles for classroom use is Maze-a-Pix and its variants, applied to existing curricular topics. Teacher-preparation and instructions are least complicated and time-consuming. This will provide another tool for teaching already-required topics, assuming appropriately-chosen pictures.
An additional Maze-a-Pix discussion started by eighth-grader Xtremerunneras describes the reaction of his friends to the Maze-a-Pix concept, revealing the extent of student acceptance of this type of puzzle. Now, we should only adjust to educational topics, and provide some simpler ones to the lower grades.
I do hope that Conceptis will continue development of the Maze-a-Pix types. I believe that its success with my teacher-students and their classes is a predictor of future publishing success.
Final Papers and Syllabus
About the author
Polly Carter is a retired teacher and computer consultant. For the last 12 years Carter has taught graduate in-service computer courses for teachers involving the use of computer-created puzzles in the classroom. Mrs. Carter is also a moderator of the Conceptis Puzzles and Kids forum. Visit Polly's website at pollyspuzzles.com.