For Educators - Before Puzzle Play

Puzzle Play

Before Puzzle Play

You're thinking about having your students start puzzle play in Lure of the Labyrinth. And, of course, you have some questions, perhaps most importantly ... What can you do to turn Lure of the Labyrinth's puzzle play into a productive - and fun - learning experience for your students?

Well, one of the key things you can do is to think about your role in relation to Lure of the Labyrinth ... and in relation to your students when they play Lure of the Labyrinth. We've collected some ideas on this subject here, and we strongly encourage you to check them out if you haven't done so already.

What else can you do? Here are some suggestions ...

Think about your goals

So the whole point of Lure of the Labyrinth is to give you a new teaching tool and to help your students learn the math they need to learn. To achieve these goals, you must, of course, connect your students' puzzle play in Lure of the Labyrinth with your curriculum. Here are some of the ways you can make that happen:
  • Review your curriculum and compare it with the standards, indicators and objectives addressed in Lure of the Labyrinth's puzzles. Plan your schedule so that you have students play specific puzzles before you formally introduce the pre-algebra content contained in the puzzles. (You can read more about why this is a good idea here and below.)
  • Review our lesson plans (all written by pre-algebra teachers) and think about ways to use them as a bridge between the math in the puzzles and the math in your curriculum, but also ...
  • Feel free to use the puzzles in ways that best suit your curriculum, your students and your teaching style.
Think about your technology
  • An important piece of setting the stage for puzzle play is to consider your classroom configuration. Will all of the students be playing on individual computers? Will they be working in small groups? Or will they instead be working in a one-computer classroom? Go here to see our extensive overview on this subject.
  • Consider having headphones available if your students will be playing Lure of the Labyrinth on their own computers in your classroom or computer lab (otherwise the noise from all of the computers can become very distracting).
  • Make sure that any and all of the computers you're using meet Lure of the Labyrinth's technical requirements.
  • If you haven't already done so, you'll need to create class lists using the Administrators Tool.
  • Also, if it hasn't happened yet, have your students go through the process of creating and customizing their game avatars.
  • Provide your students with the relevant "Puzzle Graphic Organizers" (which you can learn about here and find here).
Think about your students
  • Establish guidelines with your students for the kinds of behavior that will be acceptable during puzzle play in your classroom or computer lab. One of the ways that Lure of the Labyrinth's puzzle play is different from its full-blown game play is that students don't have access to virtual in-game communication via the TPC. And, of course, the give and take of that communication can be an important part of how students learn while playing Lure of the Labyrinth. So you'll probably want to give your students the chance to communicate verbally - a lot - during their puzzle play. At the same time, you'll need to set parameters around that communication. Allowing your students to participate in the process of establishing those parameters can potentially help you maintain order once puzzle play begins.
  • Review Working with Specific Puzzles and If a Player Gets Stuck ... so you'll be able to support the very few students (see below) who might actually need help working the puzzles.
  • Introduce and talk about Lure of the Labyrinth early in the school year, integrating its puzzles into your teaching so that they're a regular part of your classroom culture.
Talk with your students

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Of course, whether your starting point is a discussion, a textbook or a learning game, education always comes down to communication. These are some of the things you should consider talking about with your students regarding the puzzle play and content in Lure of the Labyrinth:
  • Explain to them that, as they would with any new game, they'll need to be brave in coming up with new ideas, testing them out, refining them, and doing it all over again when playing Lure of the Labyrinth. Students may encounter some failures, but thsoe failures will almost always ultimately lead to success.

  • Tell students that the puzzles are less about getting exactly the right answer, especially at first, and more about developing mathematical strategies that they'll be able to apply in many contexts.
  • Remind them that while they should, of course, always be trying their best, the points they accumulate during puzzle play will not count toward obliterating a room, as they would during game play.
  • Let them know that they should enjoy playing with the math in Lure of the Labyrinth's puzzles. It's a game and it's supposed to be fun!
  • And finally, be assured that your students will almost certainly be able to figure out how to play Lure of the Labyrinth. In fact, if you have difficulty learning the game (or if you have limited time to learn it), consider having your students teach you how to play Lure of the Labyrinth ... That would be a most excellent teaching and learning experience for everyone!

    Lesson plans
    Student Graphic Organizers

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