1.1.3 Reflection on Sudoku

An important part of learning is the time spent thinking about what you have done and how effective your methods have been so that you can improve your work. The next activity will help you to do this.

Activity symbolActivity: How Did This Work for You?

Spend a few minutes thinking about how you felt about doing the previous activity. If you were asked to solve a similar puzzle, would you approach it differently? What have you learned from tackling the activity about your studying or how you approach problems? Write down a few ideas summarizing your thoughts in your math notebook.

Hint symbol

Discussion

You can think about the strategies that worked for you that you would use again, and the ones that lead to a violation of the rules. Was it possible to fix a mistake easily? How confident did you feel in your approach? Can you think of a reason why a sudoku puzzle would be part of a math lesson?

Solution symbol

Answer

You may have felt slightly apprehensive about being asked to do an activity so early in the unit—that’s a natural feeling when you are not quite sure what to expect! Or you might have been ready to try, or you might even have felt very confident if you already enjoy sudoku puzzles.

Your comments will obviously be rather personal, but some things you might have noted are the hints on tackling the problem: Crossing out rows and columns and concentrating on the smaller blocks, or looking along the rows to see what numbers were missing. You may not have used quite the same strategy for solving the puzzle, and that’s okay, as there is usually more than one way to solve a problem … even if sometimes one way is much more efficient than another.

Logical thinking and reasoning are important skills when engaging in math. Finding strategies that work is the goal, but going wrong often will be part of the process. When you watch somebody with lots of practice do math, you may be fooled into thinking that this person just knows instinctively what to do next. But it is much more likely that this person has practiced this type of problem and eliminated the wrong turns along the way.

Learners make mistakes! It’s natural and even beneficial. Unfortunately, you may have noticed with this puzzle that making a mistake early on may lead to more mistakes, and since you cannot be sure where the first one occurred, fixing these is almost impossible. Starting over and ensuring that each number that you put down is allowed to go where you put it may be the only way out.

1.1.4 Further Reflection on Sudoku