The first Erasmus+ SMEM project exhibit within the PR1, named “Beaver’s Dam,” is a puzzle consisting of nine wooden pieces that should be rearranged to create a beaver’s dam in a square form.
During the few weekends in October of 2022, MS “Archimedes” tested the exhibit design with its pupils. For example, the size of the puzzle pieces and auxiliary material which should help kids (a grid drawn over a waterfall) was challenged.
The classes would start with a discussion about the woods and the animals from the forest ecosystem. Then the dialogue focused on the beavers and dams they make. The teacher also asked why beavers build dams. Next, the kids were given the puzzle pieces and tasked with arranging them in such a way as to aid the beaver.
The children were eager to start and were excited to try their hand at solving the puzzle. As they advanced, they discovered that some pieces fit in a given grid easier than others. With the teacher’s help, encouraging them to persevere and to try creatively to assemble all the parts together, the pupils eventually succeeded and built the beaver’s dam. Some students found the solution exclusively on their own.
The pupils were pleased with their accomplishments and keen on conveying their impressions. In our opinion, the puzzle was a true winner, and there was a lot of merriment while students cracked it.
This trial was a valuable learning adventure for pupils. It confirmed the importance of creativity and problem-solving in education. It also pointed out the right way to make school content accessible, interactive and dynamic for learners. It also helped us decide on the most appropriate size for the exhibit and on the design of the guiding picture.
The Beaver’s Dam exhibit in the future may be adjusted to better suit different age groups and cultures. However, the concept of providing a hands-on learning experience has already been achieved.