Exercise: Turning the Donkey

Many of the activities in the YCISL program are derived from existing games – and we connect our topics to them. An example is the Spaghetti Tower-Marshmallow exercise where we demonstrate prototyping and “fail early, fail fast” as well as collaborative teamwork.

Today, I was searching the internet for a puzzle and came across a web site with a collection of matchstick puzzles (http://www.learning-tree.org.uk/stickpuzzles/stick_puzzles.htm). I was looking for something that would require divergent thinking. I didn’t have matchsticks, so I tried the puzzle with some pens. I confess I am bad at these types of puzzles and in the end, snuck a peek at the posted solution. But more importantly, I found that doing such a puzzle connects many of the topics we touch on in the YCISL workshops.

So I created a “Lessons” document which describes the puzzle and asks questions to reflect on. I have posted a link to this document in our LinkedIn Group Discussion and will likely incorporate it or something similar into the workshops.

Found on http://www.learning-tree.org.uk/stickpuzzles/stick_puzzles.htm

turnthedonkey_rMove 1 pen to turn the donkey.


  • Did you see the solution on your first pass? WOW! – if you did.
  • Did you sense creative energy well up in you?
  • Did you feel (instrinsic) motivation?
  • Did you experience divergent fast thinking (iterating over many possible solutions)?
  • Did you apply logical deductive reasoning (eliminating non-solutions)?
  • Did you experience optimism?
  • Did you notice frustration or self-doubt?
  • Did you think about giving up?
  • Did you second guess what the problem was asking?
  • Do you think you accomplished something?

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