It has been a strange week all over hasn’t it? My heart goes out to my friends in America and all the scary things they are dealing with at the moment.
Over here in England it has been pretty strange itself. Firstly, the schools re-opened and they sent the kids back… then they changed their minds and shut them all again the very next day!
Kids are back to online learning, teachers (and parents) are stressed out and no one really knows how best to handle it!
If you are anything like me you will feel that some subjects naturally lend themselves to distance learning (I’m looking at your coding!) and some just don’t (yes history, I’m talking about you!)
In recent years I have really started to focus my energy on digital resources and even more so this past year. Teachers need ways to reach their students like never before, and even more so in subjects which can be difficult to teach at a distance.
With this in mind, I wanted to talk to you a bit about designing puzzles to engage the students in your lessons. Some of the best ways to encourage engagement involve fun and something different. You are probably aware that I love escape rooms, but these puzzle ideas do not necessarily have to be just for escape rooms you can run with these ideas however you see fit! So here are my top tips for puzzle making and turning a dry lesson into a fun one! I recently did a Facebook / Instagram live on this very subject so if you would rather watch the video, you can here:
Link the puzzles together (flow chart)
I usually do this with a flow chart. I find the best way to keep students interested is to have one puzzle or objective lead onto another. Each time they solve one they are directed to another.
Give them context and a meaning.
The puzzles have to make sense in their own world. If you want students to solve a puzzle it has to have its own logical outcome.
Balance the subject learning with other skills.
While the learning outcome of your subject is going to be front of you mind, using puzzles in learning, develops all kinds of other skills. Team building, problem solving and reasoning skills to name just a few!
I hope this was useful to you. It was a very brief overview and I would love to go into more detail with you. I am going to be going live on my Instagram account next week to talk about puzzle creation and all things gamification, so if you want to join me don’t forget to follow me.
If you haven’t already, try and escape from my game, it is designed just for teachers!