Jerry Martin: Third Team Sudoku Tournament coming in April | TheUnion.com

Jerry Martin: Third Team Sudoku Tournament coming in April

Jerry Martin
Other Voices

Intelligence is only as good as the accuracy of the information on which it operates, and depends on how the information is managed.

As smart as Einstein was, if he had been taught and believed that water was milk and milk was water, he would have made major mistakes.

The human brain is the sole reason we humans are the dominant life form on earth. Birds fly, cheetahs are faster, whales swim better and elephants are stronger, but our brains have produced language, morality, music, medical cures, cars, submarines, humor and astronauts to the moon and back.

Managing information effectively and efficiently consists of gathering, evaluating, interpreting, deciding and, only later, acting. Done well, intelligence is the result and knowledge is the reward.

Sudoku is a simple puzzle which trains children in many important thinking habits that improve brain functioning.

I don’t mean to suggest that thinking is the total of us complex humans. Of course we’re comprised of emotions, physiognomy and souls also. But our brains distinguish us, making us special, giving us many forms of creativity and control that other species lack.

Much as engines need tune ups to perform efficiently and effectively, children’s brains need training to make the best logical decisions. Sudoku is a simple puzzle which trains children in many important thinking habits that improve brain functioning. Through repetitive solving, they learn the need for accuracy. Without 100 percent truthfulness, they’ll fail to solve the puzzle. Learning to find the few pieces of relevant information while ignoring many irrelevancies is also necessary. Never committing to a decision until enough information is determined is also a lesson learned many times. And recognizing certain patterns which lead to solutions is a skill developed by doing Sudoku.

Studying science and learning the scientific method trains logical thinking, as does learning mathematics. But doing Sudoku is a short cut to logical thinking that young children can learn and enjoy, even if they never learn much science or math. And logical thinking habits are applicable in all STEAM subjects and throughout the many decisions we make in life.

Working on a team while attacking a common opponent, a Sudoku puzzle, develops collaborative skills that help develop friendships. Communication, cooperation and leadership are also formed on these teams, which children enjoy. Participating in a purely mental activity, with no luck involved, is a rarity for this age group. Seeing their intense concentration and fervent enthusiasm is very encouraging to those witnessing past tournaments.

Here in Nevada County we have originated the idea of solving Sudoku on teams. Nowhere else in the world is this done in competitions. We are making history. We hope to make Nevada County the Sudoku capital of California, giving us an enviable reputation as innovators in advancing human intellect.

The local Sudoku Society will hold our Third Children’s Team Sudoku Tournament at Nevada Union High School on April 28 for second through seventh graders. We invite all teams of three or four children to participate in this fun and educational activity. We are now coaching beginning and intermediate students at many local schools. We welcome teams from children’s organizations such as Scouts, FFA and church groups to enter. Some families might want to form a team.

All training is free, as is entry to the tournament.

For more information call Jerry Martin at 530-477-6282 or visit the website at http://www.sudokuasateachingtool.org.

Jerry Martin lives in Grass Valley.


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