Hands On Learning Isn't Lost With Digital Instruction

When the pandemic first hit and schools shut down, I panicked.  I felt like my love of hands on learning was lost and there was no way to get it back.  The need to teach digitally had come, virtually overnight, and with it, interactive, cooperative learning had died.  At least that's what I believed, until I had an awakening.


Hands On Learning Isn't Lost with Digital Instruction


Just because each student was holed up in their house, on their own computer, interacting with a keyboard and a mouse, didn't mean that lessons needed to be bland and independent.  Material could still be interactive, vibrant, engaging, and hands on if it was approached in the right manner.  And that is when Puzzling History began.


Puzzling History Together - A Digital Inquiry Interactive Lesson


Born from an idea shared in a Facebook group, and grown through discussions shared with other sellers and my family, I determined to create interactive puzzles that students could assemble on their own or with their classmates in an inquiry process that would help them see the correlation between puzzles and history while allowing them to explore landmarks around the world.

History is like a puzzle...the more pieces you can assemble, the clearer the picture becomes.


Puzzling History presents students with a set of four progressively more challenging puzzles, where students are given more and more puzzle pieces.  At first there is no way to solve the puzzle.  That is the point!  They have no idea what they are looking at.  Just like with history, when we have too few artifacts or clues, we have trouble making sense of that period or civilization.  We don't know what we're seeing.  Students are then given more pieces and more pieces until they can piece the puzzle together in its entirety, finally revealing what is going on.


Assign students 4 progressively more challenging puzzles.


For students who need more support, get frustrated easily, or may need assistance in the classroom, there are two different versions of puzzles for the teacher to choose from when assigning slides to them.  There is one slide where a picture of the final outcome is visible to help guide the student through the process, and there is another slide where, not only a picture is visible, but several pieces are already locked into place, making this assignment more accessible for all the students in the classroom.


Two puzzles are provided that lend support to students who need it.


Finally, a reflection sheet helps guide students through the process, asking them what they can contruct and visualize, and how this correlates to history.


An optional reflection sheet follows students through the process


Puzzling History - A Digital Inquiry LessonOn top of that, Google Slides™ allows you to assign slides to an individual or to a group.  This allows this inquiry activity to be truly interactive as the teacher can have the puzzle with 35 pieces go just to student A, but the puzzle with 54 pieces go to students A, B, and C, getting them to engage and work together to create the image.  Better yet, give the puzzle with 48 out of 54 pieces to several students and have them complete it.  Then have them discuss and deduce what is happening, what is missing, and what is truly going on.  How fun is that?




These Puzzling History Digital Inquiry Activities will allow students to get hands on and explore history with a new twist on learning.


Brittany - The Colorado Classroom




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