Photos and Highlights from Section Gamma

In this post, I shall highlight aspects of my sessions with Section Gamma that were different from Alpha and Beta. By now, you must be familiar with the puzzles and structure of the course from the previous posts so I will build on that...

Here is how my time with Gamma was spent:

Key Activities
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. on 1/5
Introduction with code + course expectations
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on 2/5
Discussion of course expectations + Slitherlink + session feedback
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. on 2/5
Dominoes + Logical Thinking Quiz + session feedback
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on 3/5
Dissection + Kakuro + end course feedback

Based on my observations with Alpha and Beta, the kids found Slitherlink the most challenging puzzle in the course; so, for Gamma, I put it at the start of the day and as a standalone puzzle so that the children could get more time with it. It proved to be the most fruitful Slitherlink session of the three. As I pointed out to the children, they were getting the third iteration of the course in its most refined form so things were bound to go more smoothly! 😃

For both Alpha and Gamma, I kept a solved Slitherlink permanently up on the screen and used that to explain the rules and reference them in the future. I also had the following 5 points written in the top left corner of the board for sessions 2, 3 and 4 as reminders of the main elements and focus of the course.
  • Thought process is more important than the final answer
  • Teamwork
  • Mistakes are great chances to learn!
  • Metacognition (thinking about your thinking!)
  • Strategy

In the agenda, I added a small 5 minute segment on "how to give feedback" so that my students are aware that feedback should be critical, sincere and honest for it to be helpful to the teacher.

After breakfast, we discussed common themes that emerged from their feedback before diving into Dominoes. I saw some exceptional partner work during this time as searching for dominoes efficiently is hard and two brains working towards the goal is better than one!

We got into 4 teams of 4 for the Logical Thinking Quiz and I gave each child a set of toothpicks so that they could work out problems independently and then discuss with their team members on possible solutions. You might have observed that I kept the Logical Thinking Quiz as the last activity of the day in all 3 classes as it was a team-based activity requiring interesting visualisation of shapes and out-of-the-box thinking - a relaxed way to wind up when they are mentally tired. Based on feedback from Beta, I used toothpicks with both Alpha and Gamma and the quiz went a lot better in both those sections. Here are some photos of the teams in Gamma working with their toothpicks to make the patterns.

For the last session of the course the following day (started at 9 a.m.), children walked in to find directions on the board about who they can sit with and in which part of the class they should sit. I did this mixing and matching with all sections for variety and to get them to work with different classmates. We warmed up with the Dissection puzzle before beginning Kakuro.

The Kakuro sessions went well in all three classes with regards to children understanding the puzzle and getting a hang of the strategies. The main changes with Alpha and Gamma was giving them more time with the puzzle to make mistakes and figure out new patterns and strategies. Here are some photos of Gamma working on the Kakuros.

We ended the course with 15 minutes of {sincere, critical, honest, detailed} feedback and a class photo. One thing that I liked was how each section had its own character and vibrant personalities that gave it that character. Frankly, it is impossible for me to say I enjoyed with one section more than the other. They were all different and special in their own way! 😃

In the next post, I write about the Open Day.