Session 3 - Section Beta

In our third session, which immediately followed the second one, children sat with the same partners who they worked on the Slitherlinks with. Once again, I would recommend reading this post on a computer/laptop or tablet with a big screen to appreciate the student work.

Kakuro, in my opinion, was a more challenging puzzle than Slitherlink. It required fluency in mental addition and subtraction up to the number 45. Keeping this aspect in mind, I decided to explain the rules and model a puzzle for the kids. I gave each of them this sheet. Note the choice of puzzle - small numbers and sums that will not intimidate children and thus give them the mental space to familiarise themselves with the rules.

First, we carefully went through the rules together about 3 times to ensure that we were all on the same page. Then, I wrote out the Kakuro on the whiteboard and gave the children 3 minutes of silent time to individually jot down strategies and ideas on how they might approach the puzzle. I emphasised that they should not to try solving the puzzle at this point but instead think deeply about how they were approaching the problem. Here is where metacognition, one of the core course principles, was coming in.

We had a large class share out of strategies at this point. I encouraged them to share whatever strategies had come to their mind and to worry about testing whether the strategy worked or not later. Here are some of the strategies that they initially came up with...

We tried out the strategies on this puzzle and solved it, step by step, as a class together. Frequent references were made to the rules - especially rules 2 and 4.

On the other side of this sheet, were 3 more model puzzles chosen carefully to expose kids to higher sums while still being on the easier side.

By this point, about 45 minutes of class had passed and my students were getting a hang of the puzzle. We transitioned to partner work wherein I gave a set of 6 puzzles - 1 set for every 2 children. The reason behind printing 1 copy per pair was to build teamwork and discussion of strategies through them working simultaneously on the same puzzle. I moved around the class reminding kids to write out any new strategies that they discovered in their Thought Book and was delighted to see the collaboration between partners.

I knew that I was pushing my students' thinking through the Slitherlink, Dissection and Kakuro puzzles that we had been working on for over 3 hours. Thus, for the last half hour of class, I consciously decided to have a team-based logical reasoning quiz that required out of the box thinking. Kids got into 3 teams of 3 and 2 teams of 4 (remember that 17 is an exasperating prime number! 😄) of their choice and I asked them questions like the ones shown below in a quiz show format - direct question (5 points), passed question (3 points) and no negative points for wrong answers. All teams were shown the question at the same time and had 2 minutes to figure out the solution. This quiz served as a light yet energetic way to wind up the day!

As always, I ended my session with feedback. My students raised some pertinent points (see the samples below) that I implemented with the Alpha section in class today. I will share details of that in a later post.

In the next post (linked below as an addendum), I'll write about our last session in the Beta section where we explored two puzzles - Dominoes and Logical Elimination.

Session 4 - Section Beta


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