Trust and Kenken
I am a bit of a Kenken junkie. I have one program on my iPad that I play through most of the levels and then somewhere along the way, the iPad gets reset and so does my library of completed games. I have been using the same program for the last three years.
With the recent discussions on trust in #cccourses I have been reflecting on trust in all facets of my life and today I am sharing my relationship to Kenken as it relates to math education.
As my students know, I use Kenken as a tool to teach problem solving. We use a meta-learning approach to understand how we make decisions. In the process we move from guessing to making rules and then to the strategic use of the rules through creative problem solving.
It is this process of making rules where problem-solving learners make the connection to the early mathematicians who struggled to create the elementary rules of mathematics. Recently I wrote a post of this topic (Trust and Mathematics).
In games like Kenken, all that I have for tools is the trust that I have in the rules that I created for that game. I put my trust in knowing that if a pair of numbers are in two boxes in a row or column then I have used up that pair of numbers. Sometimes I make 20 moves without seeing any real progress with the trust that if I just keep following the rules that the final result will present itself to me. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
When the process brings me negative results I am certain that it is I who is misusing my rules for Kenken, as these rules have worked for me over again. I get to unwind what I have done, sometimes I just restart with a more aware eye to question my reasoning. IT WORKS. I find that I can trust my rules and I can solve that problem.