42 thinking skills you can learn from doing jigsaw puzzlesDocument Transcript
42 Thinking Skills You Can Learn From DoingJigsaw PuzzlesJigsaw puzzles are a one-stop cognitive development and character-building activity. There are feweducational experiences that have the potential to teach such a varied range of thinking skills, as well asother useful skills such as patience and perseverance. Learning these skills can benefit you at any stageof your life. For example, jigsaw puzzles can teach you: Problem-solving strategies Project management skills Self-management skills Visual skills Cognitive skills Character development skills and traits Tactile skills Social skills Collaborative skillsJigsaw puzzles are cheap and easy to obtain, you only need a small space to do them and very little cango wrong, provided that you dont lose pieces or let the dog chew them. If you are a parent or a teacher,you can follow some simple steps to help your children or students gain confidence in a range of skillsthat will benefit them in many areas of their learning. The key to this is transferability. This articleexplains what it is and how you can use it.The educational value of doing a jigsaw puzzle is twofold: first, by building up a base of useful individualskills; secondly, by transferring these skills to other situations where they can be applied to solve newproblems. A lot of research has been done into the transfer of learning from one situation to another.This is one of the key aims of all learning. If you wish to do some in-depth reading on the topic, go toGoogle and search for "transferable skills."So, what is transferability? A simple example is learning how to hammer a nail into a piece of wood.Imagine if you could only use one length of nail and one size hammer to knock it into one type ofmaterial, e.g. wood. This wouldnt be very useful to you, because the skill is not transferable to othersituations. Youd have to learn a new skill every time you wanted to use a hammer in a differentsituation. However, if you knew that you could use any size hammer with any size nail and almost anytype of material, it would be far more useful to you as a skill. Even better, if you knew that you could use
the skill on the ground, in the air or on a boat or in a hundred other places, it would be more useful still.This simple example demonstrates what transferability is: knowing how to apply a skill in new situations.How do you transfer the skills you are learning by doing a jigsaw puzzle to other situations? All you needto do is follow a three-step process. The skill you are using needs to be:a. Identified,b. Understood as a process, andc. Applied to new situations.But, before you rush off to do a jigsaw puzzle in the hope that you will become a super problem-solver,there are a few tips that will help to make the experience more beneficial. As you do your puzzle, youneed to be consciously aware of what you are doing and be able to articulate the process as you do it.This means that as you do the puzzle, you need to be aware of your own self-talk, i.e. what you say toyourself as you engage in doing the puzzle. An example of this could be: "Im using my organisationalskills to sort the pieces of the puzzle into straight edges and inner pieces." This skill could be used lateron when you do your washing, where you could say: "Im using my organisational skills to sort thewashing into dark and light colours." At a higher level, you could say, "Im organising my staff into skilllevels so that we can complete the project in the most efficient way."In this article I have isolated 42 skills that can be developed through doing jigsaw puzzles, but there areprobably a whole lot more. Write to me if you find some more and Ill update the article. The beauty ofjigsaw puzzles is that they start at a very simple level and go up to diabolically difficult challenge levels,such as the Clementoni puzzles which have over 13000 pieces. For those of you who are moreadventurous, there are also 3-D puzzles and puzzles with other challenging features. Visit your local toyshop to see the range of puzzle challenges that are available.It is useful to set a reasonable goal by starting where youre comfortable and progressing from there tomore challenging puzzles. As you do the puzzle, remember to note the skill youre using. Developing thisself-talk will help you to apply or transfer the skill to new situations.Here are the skills that you can learn as you do your puzzle, as well as possible self-talk that could gowith them. The skills are listed in alphabetical order. The final part of this article has suggestions for thetype of self-talk you could use to apply the skills you have learned to new situations.Affirmation for small achievements, e.g. fitting a piece correctly: "I feel great that I achieved that goal."Analysis: "Ive broken the puzzle into all of its parts and now I understand how it will fit together."
Arranging: "Im arranging these pieces into an order that will help me work more efficiently."Attention to detail: "This colour is not the same as that colour, so this piece must go somewhere else."Categorising: "Ive organised all of these pieces into their colours."Collaboration: "This area is very challenging, so we need to work together to solve it."Comparison: "This shape will fit into this space. This piece is too big to fit into that space."Comprehension: "I understand the picture, so I can do this section."Concentration: "Im concentrating on the size, edges, shapes and colours of these pieces to see howthey go together."Contrast: "Are these colours/shapes the same or are they different?"Creativity (different ways of identifying puzzle pieces): "This piece is too difficult to identify by colour, soIll compare the shapes of the edges."Decision-making: "All of these pieces will form that part of the picture."Ever-increasing challenges (fewer pieces to many pieces): "I did a 100- piece puzzle last time. This timeIll go for a 200-piece puzzle."Eye-hand co-ordination (fine motor control): "These pieces are very small, so I have to be dextrous tomanipulate them into their correct spaces."Flexibility (work on different areas): "Ive tried this area for a while without too much success. Ill tryanother area for a while."Formulating questions: "How do these pieces fit together? Does this colour match with that colour?"Goal-setting: "Ill finish this puzzle in one week."Helpful (prompt a person, dont give the answer): "Have you tried one of these pieces there?" "Try thatpiece the other way around."Hypothesizing: "This piece cant go here, so it must go here. Lets try here first." "If that piece goes here,this piece must go there."Learning about picture content for discussion and language development: "I can see three green treesnext to a blue river."Memory retention: "I tried this piece here before, so it wont fit."
Obtaining feedback on your decisions: "Oops! Wrong choice. I can see that doesnt fit."Organisation: "All of these pieces go in that area, and all of those pieces go in this area."Overcoming distractions, strengthening concentration:" Its a bit noisy in here with the television set on,but Ill concentrate harder to complete the puzzle."Patience: "I have only found one piece that fits in the past fifteen minutes. Never mind, Ill keep trying."Perseverence: "Im going to stay here until I finish this puzzle."Planning: "Ill do this area first, then Ill look for the corner pieces, then Ill complete that area."Planning work sessions and breaks: "I feel tired, so Ill work for half an hour, have a break, then Ill dosome more."Prioritising: "Ill do this difficult area first, then Ill do that area which is a little easier."Problem-solving: "This whole puzzle is a problem I need to solve. Finding edges is a problem I can solve.Sorting the pieces into colour groups is a problem I can solve."Procedures: "I can choose which order I prefer to work in. I can do this before I do that."Process of elimination:" Ill try these pieces in this area. If they fit, the puzzle will be a lot easier to solvefrom this point onwards."Reasoning, by justifying your choices of shape or colour: "These pieces go here because the coloursmatch, but those pieces dont go here. The colours are slightly darker."Reviewing: "So far Ive completed this area and I only have five more pieces to fit before I move on tothe next area."Self-reflection (learning from errors): "Im feeling a bit annoyed. Why am I taking so long to completethis area?"Sense of adventure: "This puzzle might be too difficult for me, but Ill try anyway. What have I got tolose?"Sequence: "This is a logical order of work. Ill do this area, then Ill do that area. After that, Ill completethis edge."Sharing behaviour: "Lets work on this area together. Ill help you find your pieces if you help me findmine."
Social interaction: Im enjoying doing this puzzle with you. Were a great team."Spatial orientation skills: "If I rotate this in my mind, I can see it doesnt fit here. It fits there."Stop to enjoy, appreciate and admire the picture: "What a beautiful scene of a French vineyard."Trial and error process: "One of these nine pieces will fit here. Ill try them all, even though it will takesome time."Now that you know a range of skills that you can use, as well as examples of the self-talk that will helpyou understand the process you are using, it is time to do a puzzle. Print this article and keep it with youas you do it. Refer to it often to identify skills as well as practise the self-talk patterns.When you have used these skills and are familiar with them, you will be ready to transfer them to newproblem-solving situations. When you face a problem-solving challenge at home or at work, stand backfor a moment and ask yourself:What skill that I used in the puzzle can I use here?Use the same self-talk patterns to apply the skill to the new situation. Lets use the example of having aflat tyre on your car. Perhaps youve never changed a tire before. What could you say to yourself?"What skill that I used in the puzzle can I use here?""What sequence of actions do I need in order to accomplish this task?""I need to concentrate to complete this task in time."Finally, one extra thing needs to be said. You have to provide the motivation to learn the skills and applythem to new situations as part of your own personal problem-solving strategy. If you dont apply yourskills to new situations, perhaps the washing wont get done or the tyre wont get changed. Theapplication stage is the most important one if you hope to become a better thinker.Now you are ready to try solving some real-life problems with these skills. Happy puzzling and happyproblem-solving.Here at www.jigsaw2order.com We offer an extensive range of jigsaw picture puzzlesizes and design options and you can Personalized Jigsaw Puzzles from your own photos.