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The World is a Puzzle and the Child is Just Trying to Figure it Out

by Early Math Counts


Sometimes I dread meetings.  Honestly, I dread most meetings but this past week I attended the annual Board Meeting for the Chicago Children’s Museum (since I am on the Advisory Board of the Tinkering Lab and we were invited to the BIG meeting) and it was exceptionally fun and entertaining.

Once the voting was over and introductions had concluded, a puzzle maker by the name of Sandor Weisz took over the meeting, broke us into groups and together we worked out an interactive and engaging puzzle.  His business, The Mystery League, is all about creating puzzle hunts for groups of people (meetings, parties, etc.).  We worked in teams, hunted for clues, uncovered the hidden meanings and solved the puzzle.

When Jennifer Farrington, the President and CEO of the museum introduced the activity, she reminded us that young children unravel the mysteries of the world much like we approach puzzles.  They examine the pieces and consider how they fit.  They twist and turn them until they make sense. The pieces are complicated and seemingly disconnected yet they try and err and try again. This is the beginning of the lifelong process of assembling understandings and making meaning of their lives, the people around them, and the world they live in.

I love this analogy.  It is accurate and uncomplicated.

PS. In each area of the museum, staff members were there to answer questions and to ask provocative questions in order to scaffold our understandings.  Brilliant.


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