Last week the Happy Puzzle Company visited the Junior School for a fun packed day of puzzles and challenges.
Out went whiteboards, computers, pens, pencils and paper and in came wobbly icebergs and penguins, giant jigsaws and mosaic puzzles. Puzzles that appeared to be impossible were shown to be possible.
Working in mixed-ability groups the children had to solve problems against the clock. There was a real sense of enjoyment and excitement, as the children chattered and talked about different strategies and tried them out with varying degrees of success. Every one of the children in the room was focused on working out the problem.
One of the activities was the ‘Perilous Penguins’ challenge, which involved the children having to balance a large number of penguins at the same time on a rather small, slippery and wobbly iceberg, without them falling into the ocean! This proved to be much easier said than done. The children worked slowly and carefully to position the penguins on the iceberg. For this activity good teamwork was essential, as well as good hand-eye coordination and an understanding of balance and symmetry. Different strategies were discussed and tested to find the best one. On many attempts groups came very close to completing the puzzle, but in placing the final penguin all came tumbling down, and they were back to square one! All the children showed real determination and perseverance, and eventually managed to successfully balance every single penguin on the iceberg.
Other tasks included completing a mosaic jigsaw while keeping the same-colour pieces apart and creating a complex pipe network with no openings. Despite there being thousands of possible solutions to some of the puzzles, it proved to be tricky to even find one solution!
All of those involved, including the teachers, thoroughly enjoyed the workshops.