Disentanglement Puzzles are a variety of mechanical puzzles that consist of two or more entangled parts; the solver is required to separate the two parts, subjected to multiple geometric constraints. These puzzles usually follow some logical process, that helps aid in pattern recognition and visual, spatial awareness.
Plate and Ring: usually a ring that has multiple intertwined threads, that complete to make a ring.
Wire puzzles: two or more entangled links with a hanging key, solved by disentangling the key from the links.
Wire-and-string: usually a series of stiff wire pieces, entangling a piece of string or ribbon; disentangle the ribbon and string from the base.
Want your Child to Succeed in Mathematics?
“For children to succeed in mathematics, a number of brain functions need to work together. Children must be able to use memory to recall rules and formulas and recognize patterns; and use sequential ordering to solve multi-step problems and use procedures. In addition, children must use spatial ordering to recognize symbols and deal with geometric forms.” – Basics of Mathematics, PBS.org.
Disentanglement puzzles help develop these particular parts of a child brain by presenting rather complex problems, that require a number of skills that aren’t regularly taught in schools. Disentanglement puzzles are often hard to open by fluke, and need some thought, patience and diligence to unlock.
Traditionally, they are more suited to older children and pre-teens due to the combination of visual-spatial thinking and ordered thinking strategies. However, they make great practice for school aged children who are advanced or particularly adept at Mathematical and logical problems.
What Skills do Disentanglement Puzzles Present?
This style of puzzle develops spatial, visual awareness as well as logical and strategic thinking. It is well known that learning is not a passive process; effective learning requires a student to interact with the material. Children who practice with these types of puzzles tend to develop proficient skill sets in the fields of mathematics, science and other logic based abilities – due to their exposure to logical methods and patterns. Similar skills are developed in sequential move puzzles, like Rubik’s cube. Logical developments are prominent in virtually all puzzles, but spatial and visual awareness seem to be exclusive to these puzzle styles.
High spatial intelligence is important for success in a variety of fields: mathematics, engineering and architecture. For instance, engineers must be able to understand and visualize interactions between parts of machines; a radiologist needs to be able to interpret the image on an x-ray. Visual and spatial awareness is becoming increasingly important in more modern careers paths such as graphic design and complex data visualization fields in IT.
Spatial ability is the capacity to remember and understand spatial relations among objects. It is viewed as a unique type of intelligence, distinguishable from other forms of intelligence such as verbal, reasoning and memory. Spatial ability is not static trait, it is made up of numerous sub-skills which are interrelated.
Despite the importance of spatial awareness in so many prominent fields in science and education they are rarely developed in schools. In fact, the first time many of us come across tests for spatial awareness examinations and/or practice is when we are applying for jobs. They are used by Taleo and other prominent employment examiners, for Jobs at P&G and Unilever among many other MNC’s.
Disentanglement puzzles are not just for children’s development and there is a wide variety of them suitable for adults. They make a wonderful gift or office desk accessory. If you think you are already a sharp shooter on spatial awareness tests, adults can click here and here.