This weekend I was running around in a massive maze, trying to find my way out. I was going slowly to try and remember and find some clues to progress to the end. Kids came running past me, just to find the same kids running in the opposite direction 10 seconds later. We were all lost, but I, being so competitive, wanted to succeed. So persistence, a can-do attitude, and problem-solving skills got me to the end, feeling fantastic and on top of the world.
But what are the educational benefits of solving mazes? As an adult, I sometimes feel life is one big maze, and we must maneuver, negotiate and collaborate to get to the end of a task. So how can we teach children these skills? Mazes come in all shapes and forms, and KaiBot in Kainundrum is one of these resources to help build foundational skills with students.
Mazes improve the cognitive skills of children. We train our brains to think, reason, process information, and remember. Such cognitive skills evolve into solving problems in the workplace and improve the quality of your work. You develop cognitive skills throughout your life, but strategically improving them can help you better use these abilities in the workplace.
Different strategies for most effective solutions
Children devise their strategies to solve mazes. Whether they find their way from the start point or work backward from the endpoint is up to their imagination. While they look for a way out of the maze, it is constructively helping them to be problem solvers since they are learning to deal with tricky situations. With coding, you have the same situation. However, there is an added layer to it, where the question is always: what is the most effective code? The least amount of code you can use will be the best outcome.
Strengthen Visual Skills
Before they begin to solve the maze, children do plan out their moves. Whether they realize it or not, they organically scan their eyes over the maze circuit to decide how to best tackle the puzzle. That expands their visual power and the ability to scrutinize complex settings and triumphantly emerge from them.
Virtue of Patience
This is probably the most important skill we can teach. We must agree that mazes are a tad complicated; the solution is not always immediately clear therefore, children will take their time to solve them. While doing so teaches them the value of persistence, that they have to stick around and not give up, that patience will yield good results, and that their genuine hard work will never be futile.
The Where, What, and How?
Kai’s Education, we use different puzzles to make problem-solving fun. Apart from using Kai’s Clan robots to solve tangrams the new KaiBot in Kainundrum promotes mazes as one of its core features. What you can do is grab a roll of masking tape and mark out on the floor a maze design like in the picture. Label your starting and finishing points and voila! Then, you can use the screen-free coding cards to drive KaiBot around your maze. You may notice that KaiBot’s sense of direction won’t be 100% accurate, like it’s got wobbly wheels but that’s okay; you can still code KaiBot to drive to the exit.
However, by adding some KaiTiles, it makes a world of difference. You can code KaiBot to be super accurate and drive along the magnetic tiles with precision.
Designing your own maze and getting students to use multiple robots to complete the maze is a fun and tangible way to teach them cognitive skills. The physical KaiTiles and Kaibots enhance tactile development too, but why stop there? For an intermediate level, you can pair KaiBot and join Kainundrum.com, a FREE online platform where you can do more than just build mazes. You can also build escape rooms, participate in cube runs or choose from 5 different game modes.
By using screen-free coding cards, Blockly, or Python code, your mazes can be as simple or complex as you want them. Invite your friends to join your multiplayer maze race and join the leaderboard for the fastest but also using the most effective code.
Using mazes in teaching has been proven to be successful. At Momilani Elementary in Hawai, teacher Shaun Asselstine’s use of mazes in his “Tech Lab” engaged his students as they learned about probability, ratios, percentages, and fractions. They also learn coding, game design, and cybersecurity, including computer science principles.
“There isn’t an industry out there that isn’t impacted by computer science right now,” Asselstine said. We have to empower our students across various subject matters using programming. With KaiBot, you get access to 35+ lessons focusing on maths, SEL, and science projects, and with Kai’s Clan, over 100+ cross-curricular lesson plans. For more information, contact email@example.com