FN# 6:draft#2: Minesweeper

From: Jess Thyne
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 11/?/96
Collaborative: Selected
Unclear-Approach: Selected
Informal: Selected
LearningArea: ZPD
Date: 09 Dec 1996
Time: 18:02:22
Remote Name: octal-lab-mac01.ucsc.edu



Victor 6th grade


As the CD roms did not work properly again, and there was an abundance of students again, I decided to play some minespeeper. Victor seemed interested in what I was doing, and he came over to see what game I was playing. I think that he became interested in the game because of watching me play. He wanted a turn of his own. He said that he knew how to play Minesweeper, but I could see that he only had a cursory understanding. He knew what the numbers meant, but he could not see the implications for beating the game (you can use process of ellimination to find out where the bombs are when you see that some squares must be bombs because of the numbers near them). Victor needed to learn more than the rules and meanings behind the numbers, he needed to learn some strategy.

I played for a little while with Vitor looking on, and showed him how I knew where some bombs were, and why I did not yet know what some of the squares were. Then I offered him a try. He and I worked together, with me directly guiding him, (showing him where the best place to click was, and giving him some reasons why I thought that), and finally, after about 20 minutes, him playing without much help from me at all. He was also able to explain his reasons for clicking where he clicked, which led me to believe he had in fact discovered some strategy and reasoning skills.


This seemed a great example of the ZPD. Victor had some skills, but to really play the game, he needed my help. By the end of the session, he had figured out the game, and could find the bombs almost as well as I could. I really like minesweeper, and I was really excited to see Victor learn it.

I have not yet seen if Victor has retained any of these skils, but I have not asked.


I wonder if Victor will continue to play minesweeper now that he has the hang of it? I also wonder if he really gets the game, or if he is still in the zone, and I'm just not very well trained at seeing what he still needs and does not need in the way of help.

Pablo mentioned that, I remember that a few weeks ago some of the students were saying that Victor didn't want to stay at BU because the games were not challenging. Based on your descriptions of the event, the game was quite challenging for Victor. I would like to read whether Victor stayed just because the game was challenging or whether he may have stayed for other reasons.

I'm not too sure why he stayed, but I think that it was partly because of the chalenge. It may have also been partly because of the competition set up between us because he saw that I could play the game, and thus he wanted to play too.