Perplexing Puzzle

This year I am going to work with the kids on learning how to take academic risks, how to push passed those uncomfortable feelings when solving a challenging issue.  Many of my students have spent their first few years without having to struggle and it can be difficult for them to deal with challenge. 

During our first class, the children were given a puzzle to solve.  Before taking it out of their bag we brainstormed RULES for solving puzzles.  The students discussed sorting the pieces, looking for corners and edges, not forcing pieces together, etc.  Once we were done discussing the RULES, the students began solving the puzzle using many of the rules they had come up with.  They all started with such an air of confidence and pleasure.  After awhile the frustration and confusion started to set in.  The kids were encouraged to take a Gallery Walk to study their classmates’ puzzles.  We then shared PATTERNS that were evident in the puzzles. 

This week, the kids came back to the puzzles and solved them successfully…after we discussed the PATTERNS we saw and shared last week.  Below is a video of the kids working on their puzzles. 


BIG IDEA: The children agreed that the BIG IDEA (or purpose) of this activity was to “learn to  look at things differently, stretch our brains, and to learn not to quit.”

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