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Jigsaws in Middle School

May 3rd, 2011

Teaching inner city special ed kids has always been a challenge. They have short attention spans and would much rather be active than reading or listening. Studies have shown that spatial intelligence interacts positively with mathematics so, as an experiment, a 6th grade teacher introduced my puzzles to her special ed class.

Of course the kids loved them. What 6th grader wouldn’t? Here is something they can do with a clear but difficult goal, a put-together puzzle. Normally, making puzzles is no substitute for reading, writing & arithmatic but something must be said for active minds working hard and having fun. The most skilled and enthusiastic boy (below) is also good at math. Now the classes end each week with puzzle time Friday afternoon.

Over the years since I started making puzzles, 1986, I have made more flawed puzzles than I care to admit. If they were pillow cases, they would have been seconds. They are OK but not good enough to ask money for. I am glad an imaginative teacher found a good use for some of them.

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