Category Archives: thinking strategies

Conduct a Class Poll – Extend the Usefulness of Puzzle Projects

Learning Through Charting

Conducting a class poll provides teachers with an opportunity to boost inclusiveness of the class atmosphere.  The project also provides students with yet another opportunity to learn a little more about coding. They will also learn about their own habitual working styles and can be encouraged to step out of their comfort zone.

Maths Through Art Jigsaw Puzzle

The trick to teaching with games and puzzles is to have the students recognise and understand their own way of working. This is their strength and will keep them within their own comfort zone. But as well!
Use the new found knowledge to get the students out of their comfort zone. If they are very good at completing puzzles alone, have them try to master working and collaborating in groups. What a great environment to teach about ways of working and coping with challenge. Think of it in this way. When Howard Gardner uncovered and explained the theory of Multiple Intelligences he helped teachers and students see that people have preferred ways of working. They see, experience and feel the world in different ways. This information is helpful as a source of insight when getting students started and confident in their learning. However the truly integrated individual will also benefit by recognising what they do not do well.  The insight allows them to  strategize  in an  attempt to think, feel and see in these other ways too.

Have the students conduct a class poll. It will look something like the one I have added below.

Click on the link below to take the POLL
How do you like to get started with Jigsaws?

You will notice a space I left blank for suggested answers.  The very last answer was a suggestion received this way.  With PollDaddy you can then tick a box to have this option added.  Students see that there are ways of working that they had not even thought about at the time of designing the POLL.

The Benefits of Polling in the ClassRoom
Students will
1. Decide what aspects of jigsaw creation are worth investigating. For example they may be curious to know how others approach doing jigsaws, or they might want to know how people feel when they have finally completed a really hard puzzle. The next post called Judgment, Competition and Intuitive Thinking will offer even more suggestions about possible topics for a poll.
2. Learn about poll design. Remember that you and the students are being entrepreneurial in this venture, so when the students are designing the poll they will have decisions to make about how to entice readers to take the poll.
3. Write the questions. It is not until you go to write poll questions yourself that you realise how hard it is to write succinct questions that make sense to others in context. Writing the questions is good practice because like Twitter it forces the student to be precise and to really reflect about what the short sentence conveys. Check that the questions really mean what is intended.
4. Create a graph for plotting. When the students sign up with PollDaddy or some other poll interface they will have a results page that will present their data in a PIE chart format. What a great opportunity to do some math with the students. Use the results to graph.
5. Publish the poll and the results in a professional manner.
6. Once the results of the Poll have been analysed be informed by these answers as you design the next jigsaw projects for the class.

By extending the students capacity to cope in environments and conditions that are not always their favourite, they will be stronger and more capable when the realities of life take them out of their comfort zone.