Ponder would be an effective introduction to problem-solving in a math class, or to approaching problems in critical ways in any subject area. Students can discuss what to do when a problem doesn't seem to provide the information they need to solve it: Where can they look? What approaches can they try?Continue reading Show less
In Ponder, the player is a robot in a room with some switches, a door hidden behind lasers, and another (sleeping) robot. The goal is to open the door and escape the room. That's all the instruction that's provided, which forces players to discover how to escape through trial and error. By manipulating levers and buttons, the player eventually is able to wake the sleeping robot to get an important clue, remove the lasers, and escape the room.
Kids who are accustomed to more direction might find Ponder frustrating at first; however, the puzzle isn't really that difficult, and the lack of instruction forces kids to think their way to a solution. With a bit of creative thinking, most students should have no trouble escaping. That being said, some contextualized and timed support for struggling learners would help. And while Ponder is too short to really sink one's teeth into, it's an interesting problem-solving activity that's an easy sell. The big issue is that this kind of critical thinking is already such a big part of many of the games kids are already playing at home for fun, so, in comparison, Ponder may seem simplistic.
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