Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Numeric puzzles are a great way to challenge students to Think Critically.
Some students see puzzles are an excercie in futility because they attack them from the perspective of plug in numbers at random, hoping eventually that the right pairing of numbers will magically fall into place and the puzzle will be solved. Usually, it is a race between frustration, their eraser and luck.
Some students however use sytematice processes to whittle down possible choices until and answer is found.
Still other students search for the logic behind the solution. It is the understanding that all activities with numbers from puzzles to algebra to calculus have a defined pattern of logic and sequence that provides a path for success rather than a brick wall of frustration.
Therefore, I ask students not only to solve the puzzle, but to explain the pattern or logic behind the solution.
Two verey simple examples of puzzles that I use are a 15 Magic Square and and 8 Circle Pattern
Brain: an apparatus with which
we think we think.-Ambrose Bierce-