On the way home from school today, Grace, our 7 year old, was playing "Where's My Water?" on my iPad. If you have never played the game, it is a multi-level puzzle game in which the goal is to figure out how to get an amount of water through obstacles and into the pipe that leads to the shower for a cartoon alligator.
The particular level she was working on was one she had not tried before and contained new features she had to test out to understand. She had to try several times to get it right. When she did, she was immediately excited and wanted to show me her new knowledge. The first time she tried to show me, it didn't work as she had planned. She quickly restarted the level and tried two more times before it worked the way she planned. She was smiling ear to ear when her demonstration worked.
In a span of about 10 minutes she had confronted a new and novel problem, tested different solutions, found one that worked, demonstrated it, and refined the whole process.
It got me thinking...she did this all in 10 minutes with me and a free iPad app....did she get to do anything like this level of problem solving in her 7 hours at school today?