Reflecting Allowed

Re-Thinking Puzzles: a postmodern view

Simon Ensor tweeted us a challenge to blog about an image #blimage

And this was the image

 
My 4 year old isn’t a huge fan of puzzles. I have a post in draft about the way she goes about solving them which I think is different from e way we normally teach kids to solve them, but which I also think is useful to reflect on. I won’t post this one here coz it’s been edited for someplace else.

Instead, I want to say I resent puzzles as an educational “toy”. They have only ONE correct way of being. How boring is that?

Granted, there are multiple pathways to that correct answer. Like maths and logic problems, which I used to love growing up. But math is a representstion of reality. Sure,  3 oranges plus 2 oranges are 5 oranges, but which one is bigger, tastier, smells better, has smoother skin, has fewer blemishes? Which orange was in whose hands and how does that make it valuable?

So I prefer play-doh and Legos (ignore what you’re supposed to build and do whatever). A kid can do whatever they like with them and not go wrong…it’s more that I want to give my girl free rein to test out her creativity than be forced early on to fit into a mold – it will happen later whether she lkes it or not anyway… Why start so early?
(Not a completely well-thought-out post and not really postmodernist but i thought it sounded nice in the title – I do mean it re preferring play-doh and Legos

5 thoughts on “Re-Thinking Puzzles: a postmodern view

  1. Neither of my sons were into puzzles. I’m not sure what that means in terms of intelligence/skills. I used to think it was an engineering or science thing (not that I’d know). One of them still went on to study physics, the other no sciences. I think you either like puzzles or you don’t. My husband is fantastic at packing the boot of a car even when it looks like it won’t fit, and great at packing the dishwasher, fridge leftovers into containers, etc. I agree that puzzles are not open ended and therefore not creative so I wouldn’t be pushing them onto kids who didn’t want to do them.

    1. That only certain pieces fit together and there is only one combination of themthat produces the “intended” outcome

  2. Agree that puzzles are only really about themselves. Like the way some design is so limited it can only have one outcome. Even though there can be many pieces and an infinite number of “tries” nothing unexpected or unique comes of it.
    Not really sure what post modernist thinking is about but with puzzles the end product can be explained by its parts and is determined by the designer. In a way puzzles represent the will of a single mind over the more varietal (and complex) work of collaboration.
    Good idea to keep Hoda from learning that things arise only from assemblies where everything has its proper place. Wonder if feminism has something to do with the the end of predetermined outcomes based on an orderliness that suits only some of us?
    Think you’ll like this:
    http://raymondlab.stanford.edu/uploads/2/0/9/9/20996868/nature_-_most_of_us_are_biased.pdf
    Most of us are biased. Let’s move beyond denial, own up to our prejudices against women and retrain our brains to overcome them, says Jennifer Raymond.

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