Puzzles and Kaleidoscopes.
I loved putting together puzzles and making the parts pop into life I pushed that last piece in. And as I got older I my favorite puzzles where word games — the crytograms. I felt like I was cracking the code and solving the mystery. No one else in my family enjoyed them, but I would not ever give up until I had solved them.
And the beauty of the kaleidoscopes — they were visual delights of an endless puzzle, forming ever-changing geometric symmetries like ever-blooming flowers for the eyes. And I also puzzled out how they worked.
So, today, I enjoy mystery in text and video — not horror or action, but mysteries with suspense. I love puzzling out the who-done-it before the end. And I loved geometry and Escher’s tessellations, which are a form of mystery puzzle.
I think that is part of the reason why, in my teaching, I don’t like to be boxed in with one way to do things; I like choice and creativity, like the processes I devised to solve the puzzles and create my own. If there were only one way to solve them, I would have been bored. I enjoyed the struggle to find my own way.
Even in my own time, in creating digitally, I love symmetry in poetry and images, like the one I created at the top of this post.
Note: This post is a response to my MOOC course “Learning Creative Learning” and an assignment to read the Foreword to Seymour Papert (1980): Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas (I have read the book twice before), “The Gears of My Childhood.“
What childhood objects have influenced who you are today?