A feedback phone call from a CSPathshala volunteer on the CSPathshala curriculum implementation invoked an interest in Ajay Prajapati to go through the Sudoku lessons. Ajay, a teacher from Dotad School from Poshina taluka in Gujarat roped in the other teacher, Sanjay Prajapati and together taught the class 5 students how to solve the 4×4 Sudoku.
Dotad, a traditional village populated by a captivating mélange of colorful tribal communities with a population of 4962 with 767 houses as per 2011 census. This village has literacy rate at 27.9% and the female literacy at 11%.
The students here weren’t able to comprehend 4×4 Sudoku with numbers. To make it simpler for them to understand the concept, Ajay began surfing the net to look for simpler ways of teaching Sudoku. That’s when he came upon the use of symbols in place of numbers. This made the lesson more interesting and the students managed to grasp the concept quickly through the patterns. The increased interest and understanding in the students of class 6, 7 and 8 to solve the 4×4 Sudoku in class got them solving more examples and Ajay gave them the 6×6 Sudoku for homework! The photos and videos of the student activities that the school shared with pride spoke volumes.
The objective to teach Sudoku as part of the CSpathshala curriculum is to illustrate decomposition – the act of breaking a problem down into smaller part, and solving each part to arrive at the solution, as one of the principles of problem solving. Since 9×9 Sudoku is complex, students first learn how to solve 4×4 Sudoku before moving onto more complex 6×6 and 9×9 Sudoku. For the 4×4 Sudoku they learn a systematic approach (algorithm) to solve one grid at a time to solve the entire puzzle.
The excitement and sense of achievement in Ajay’s voice while sharing his experiences and challenges in teaching the students who belong to the tribal community with the CSpathshala team was very touching. Student feedback has given Ajay the confidence to carry out more CSpathshala unplugged activities with his students.