Why puzzle?

Puzzles have a deep-rooted attraction for many children.  But what is it that makes them so helpful as a way of learning?

Most people will admit to liking puzzles of one type or another, be they word games, number games, or physical puzzles such as a Rubik’s cube.

And the reason we like them is undoubtedly because of the pleasure we get from solving the problem.

For that pleasure comes from the triggering of the part of the brain associated with rewards, wanting and liking.  In short, getting the answer right makes all of us feel good and therefore makes us interested in exploring some new puzzles to get that feeling again.

As for the reason why we feel good when solving a problem:  that is clearly established in our evolution. 

For solving problems was not just necessary as a way of finding food, but it also made human kind more inquisitive – and this was the trait that helped the species evolve to become one that searches out improvements and solutions: the essence of human civilisation in fact.

Thus, as we have evolved, solving problems has itself come to give most of us a sense of pleasure.  As a result of this children are generally more inclined to learn through completing puzzles than in any other way.

What’s more, doing puzzles can enhance the ability to learn and increase an awareness of differentiation, as the puzzler separates the right approach from the wrong.

And this is why we have published Missing Digit Puzzles – a set of maths puzzles for Key Stage 2 children.  Solving these puzzles does not just mean individual children working out the solution but can also involve small groups working together as a team.

Best of all these puzzles can’t be solved through guesswork – thinking and planning are vital components throughout. In short, they teach the essence of understanding maths and using mathematical functions through considering the prime issues and from that point, working on a solution.

You can read more about the volume “Missing Digit Puzzles” on our website.

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