The future of picture-forming puzzles in education: NCTA Puzzle Course III, Spring, 2005Sunday, June 5, 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 Spring course, described in the September PuzzleTimes (“Picture-Forming Logic Puzzles for Classroom Use”). Overall, the course which followed the Fall course on the same subject, 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.
Students in the course are experienced teachers, who try the puzzles with children in their classrooms and report on the results. Courses are taught through the Norfolk County Teachers Association, which is chartered by the State of Massachusetts to provide courses leading to teacher re-certification. The course is taught entirely on-line via e-mail, with “classroom discussion” and traditional unit reports. Teacher-students sent comments to the Puzzles and Classrooms topic in the Puzzles and Kids Forum. Five of the Final Reports concerning “The Future of Conceptis-Type Image-Forming Puzzles in Education”, including some pictures, are linked to this article.
The experimental results, in general, are very positive. In addition to the required Introductory material, all teachers chose to do the Link-a-Pix Computer Keyboard Activity and the Inverted Maze-a-Pix Famous Americans Activity. Nobody chose to do the World map because of the length of time required; and the fourth choice of Science and Animals arrived too late in the term. All four optional activities will be available again in the Fall, 2005, course.
This course is experimental. We are improving as we go. The big question is being asked: “Are some Conceptis puzzles suitable for classroom use?” The answer appears to be “Yes, provided the pictures can be used as tools to help the children learn something that is already in the curriculum. In addition, they can provide the foundation for logical thinking and problem-solving skills.”
However, the next Fall course will have changes. The Introductory sections will be re-written to clear up some confusion expressed by some of the teachers. In addition, some of the children doing the Famous Americans Inverted Maze-a-Pix puzzles either misunderstood or forgot to follow the directions, resulting in images that were like photographic negatives. (The faces of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George Bush were black and their eyebrows and lips were white.) Major editing of instructions will be needed to help the teachers guard against this problem in the future.
Conceptis has been very good about providing suitable puzzles. We hope for more.