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Puzzling Simplicity

August 24th, 2007


Problem solving should feel like this: Sliding Block Puzzle. At the time of writing I haven’t yet worked out how to finish the puzzle. However, I’m fairly certain that it involves getting the red square out of the hole at the other end of the puzzle.

Getting students to play this, and getting students to talk about strategies, and recognising medium and short term goals would be a wonderful way to get them to while away some time while thinking furiously.


August 6th, 2007


Plupon is a strange little game, but it is a good concept. With a bit of work, this could be a real gem of a game. The instructions are not that clear: you have to add number bubbles up to multiples of 10, but you can also in the interim add lower denominations to a value under 10, so if you see a 0, 1 and 2 floating down you can combine them to make 3 without a penalty. In fact, the first couple of levels are very dull unless you do!


August 6th, 2007


Bloxorz is another interesting puzzle-based game which deserves attention. It is a very clever concept, though it takes some levels before you approach a level which cannot be done very easily by trial and error.

As with most such games that are purely designed for entertainment but which have educational problem-solving potential, the number of tries again is too great. Fewer moves would mean that players would need to develop more of a strategy and to think of multi-step solutions. However, we can’t have everything. Well worth a look.

By the way, if you are in any doubt as to the problem solving potential, please try to work through to Stage 11, which is an absolutely lovely puzzle! I did it… eventually… and I have to admit that I used squared paper to help me work it out!