Research has demonstrated that the human brain does much better in the long term if it is exposed to activities such as brain teasers and logic puzzles. In fact, research has shown some of the benefits regarding such activities:
• Boosts brain activity
• Provides emotional satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
• Enhances memory and processing speed
• Helps slow the decline and reduce the risk for dementia
• Improves concentration
The human brain is no different than any other muscle in the human body. If an individual wants developed bicep muscles, they need to do arm curls with weights (i.e. an arm workout). Henceforth, if one wants to develop and maintain a healthy brain, it too must be allowed to exercise, which is the foundation of this guide.
Most of these activities are from the phenomenal video game, The Witness, by Jonathon Blow. He was gracious enough to email me and give me his permission to pursue this project.
The process I follow in my classroom for these activities is as follows:
After completing the brain warm up activities, I follow the provided routine:
→Complete one puzzle or analysis activity (page) per day. Since I utilize these as mini-lessons, it equates to about 10 minutes daily.
→Have the students complete the provided puzzle with a pen, pencil, or highlighter. MAKE SURE THEY TIME HOW LONG IT TAKES THEM!
→Show the students the solution in the embedded video clips (on my YouTube channel). As some of the videos show multiple puzzles, look to the correlating frame you’re on (top right) to see what time marker you can slide to, to view a particular solution.
→Have the students fill in whether they were correct or not.
→Finally, fill in the explanation/evidence prompt in the middle of the page.
→After completing an entire area (i.e. The Swamp), the students should fill in their “My Data” page.
So, have fun and get ready for some head scratching!
Note: The goal is not necessarily to get all the puzzles correct . . . you won’t. Regardless, the students are exercising their brains, and thereby reaping the benefits.