Communities Resolving Our Problems: the basic idea
[SUP: Sharing Problems][THINK: Guidance][LEAP: Solving Problems]

Explaining Levels of Thinking

Games can be categorized by levels of control. Puzzles are games where the learner has significant control. Some games are games of chance where the learner has very little control. Some games have competitive or cooperative goals that provide shared control. Other games provide a way to express evaluation about the game itself. Art and science are such games. Each of these categories of games provides concrete examples for classroom use for thinking about thinking and a concrete way to explain the different levels of thinking possible. Using just the concept of puzzles, for example, five levels of the thinking skills can be discussed with the youngest of school age students by engaging students in playing with puzzles and talking about puzzle thinking.

The puzzle game metaphor.

Recall involves the concept of link and peg and their creative uses. Recall, then, involves remembering patterns in the puzzle and looking in the pile for appropriate designs to test.

Analysis involves not only seeing the parts but a sense of what is and is not part of the whole or entity being studied. Analysis is carried out when the child separates out from the pile the border pieces, common color sections and noteworthy patterns shared by other pieces. It is not necessary to have all of the pieces to make a sound determination of what pieces belong to what puzzle. Mixing pieces of another puzzle with the one being completed provides a concrete exercise in understanding this missing pattern sense of analysis.

Comparison involves finding similarities and differences between different pieces of the same puzzle or pieces from different puzzles.

Inference is speculating on the characteristics of missing pieces (interpolation) or how pieces might look if added as extensions beyond the outer the of the puzzle (extrapolation).

Evaluation puts the puzzle on a scale and compartively weighs their worth using some criteria. These criteria are often referred to as values. The child might be asked what features of puzzles they like and then follow by asking whether that features was present or not present in the given puzzle. This consideration can be extended upwards. For example, is the picture that makes up the puzzle, useful, interesting, important? What is the basis for your values?