Be Creative: Mastermind

Thursday, 08 September 2011   |   Be Creative

Closely related to creative thinking is logic and deduction.  Logic and deduction can help you bridge the gap between your creative ideas.  There are many ways to improve your logical thinking but a good one is the game Mastermind.  Mastermind is great to play by yourself but is even better when you use it to teach a whole class to think logically.  It is also a lot of fun.

We have used Mastermind to teach a whole class many times and it always gets the students engaged and thinking in no time.

The way we run it is to bring the game up on a projector or smartboard and gather everyone round.  The whole class is going to work together to crack the code.  You may have to explain the rules to everyone but you can find them on the website suggested above.  After a round or two, people will get the hang of it. 

Encourage a lot of discussion while you are playing.  Get people just to call out rather than raising their hands.  You will probably have to moderate and prod the discussion too.  Ask questions such as:

  • Why did you pick that particular marble?
  • Are you happy with the order of the marbles?
  • Does your selection fit in with what you learnt from the previous attempts?
  • etc

After a few goes you should see that the students start getting the hang of it.  While it is logic and deduction they are using to crack the code, they have to be creative in order to discover how to analyse the information they are receiving.

Play a few games in class then encourage the students to play by themselves at home for a week.  After that play a few games again in class and see how their approach has changed.

You may find a good version of Mastermind, suitable for use as a group here.