Sunday, April 15, 2018


I hate to sound like an old person :) but kids today are definitely growing up in a completely different world than we did. When we were bored we played board games and did puzzles-many of my students have no experiences with things like this. When I was about 5, my little sister would combine all my puzzles together and make chicken soup. I had to put them all together to sort them out again. I got very good at puzzles. Now I am not a math-minded person, however, I think I trained my brain to learn the spatial reasoning needed to complete them. And I have an app on my phone where I try to complete at least one a day-research says it staves off dementia. 

So I don't really have an objective to justify it, but I put puzzles out with my math workstations. We start with the big piece versions-about 20 pieces. I watch my students just use trial and error to put the puzzle together. I try to guide them to look at the colors and look for the straight sides. Some students really take to this and try to put them together faster and faster.

When we've gotten good at those we try the 60 piece versions. I try to find ones with cute puppies or monster trucks-things they are interested in. At first, they shy away from the challenge-this is too hard. I can't do it. But the more they try, the better they get and I watch them with these proud smiles as they complete it.

This group has an affinity for puzzles. I actually just ordered some 100 piece ones for them to try. I think in addition to teaching them spatial reasoning that I am also teaching them grit. They prove to themselves that with hard work, it can be done.

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