Games

Learning Logic with Games

There’s a thread about using logic games to support the learning of the Theory of Knowledge on Story Games. The thread has some good suggestions on games to use for this purpose.

Mastermind is suggested to demonstrate deductive logic in action. I think most of people are familiar with this game where one player selects a secret “code” by arranging tokens of different colors into a row. The other player then tries to figure out the combination iteratively. I played this game with my parents as a child. It is a great game and the strategies you develop while playing really illustrate the mode of thinking in deductive logic. There are a number of online implementations of this game available.

Zendo, on the other hand, is proposed to illustrate inductive logic. One player comes up with the rules that make a sequence of pieces of Buddha-nature and the players have to figure out these rules by experimenting. I haven’t played this game but it seems a good match; there are similarities to the number sequence problems in mathematics and logic tests.

David Artman has developed a variant of Zendo called Ikkozendo, for those who have limited components for the game. David also pointed out that you can play Zendo with Lego, playing cards, match sticks etc. So you don’t need to get the (expensive) game-specific sets if you don’t want to.

The previous two were suggested to be used together to illustrate the difference between the deductive and inductive logic. The thread’s starter also tried them out in a class room setting with encouraging results.

Some classic logic puzzles were also suggested for this use. The classic example of this is the puzzle where there is two doors, one leading to treasure and the other leading to danger. There are two guards, one capable of only telling the truth and the other capable of only lying. The solution needed is a single question to the guards revealing which door to open. There are some web sites with similar puzzles.

These kinds of problems could also be incorporated into a digital game or a role-playing game. With digital games the advantages would be to provide the learners a chance to play on their own time and to get feedback on their progress as they play. Role-playing games could be used to provide a teamwork structure and a motivating fictional situation around the exercises. For example the players could be trying to disarm a bomb in their class room in the game and each would have different resources and additional guidance handed out to them as part of their roles.

There are also a wealth of mystery board games that require logic, such as Clue (Cluedo in Finland), Mystery of the Abbey, Scotland Yard and so on. These could be used or modded for game-based learning also.

BoardGameGeek has a couple of GeekLists of these kinds of board games. There’s also a separate GeekList for induction games.

Do you have any other candidates of games for this use? Please let me know.

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