Brain Teasers….get students started in the right direction

In Emergency Medical Services, every two years EMS providers are required to take a refresher class to validate competency of their cognitive and psychomotor skills before they can apply for their renewal license.

Well, you may say “that is great, they need to keep their skills fresh because they have people’s lives in their hands”, and I completely agree with you.

The problem may arise that some of these providers have been in EMS for 15+ years and that equates to roughly 8 refresher classes. Seeing these providers every two years and trying to get their immediate attention and get them to get involved is a real challenge. Most of the refresher classes are either at night after they have worked a long 8-10 hour day or on an early Saturday/Sunday morning and their minds are still on “sleep”.

Getting their minds “in the game” is a challenge I put in the forefront of starting my refresher classes. I want them engaged early and doing some brain teasers was my way to get the ball rolling and shaking out some of the cobwebs.

Some of the “Brain Teasers” were simple, some were more of a “Ah Ha” moment for the students in the class. Some of the students even got competitive when it came to answering the brain teasers trying to “one up” their fellow EMS providers. The game was on, and it was a moment that made each session after that {for a weekend set of refresher classes, they had a total of four sessions} it was a interesting to see them want the brain teaser at the beginning of the class.

One of the classes I was doing it was the last day of the class, and I forgot to start the session with a brain teaser and some of the students even asked “where is the brain teaser game like we had the other sessions”? Wow, that made me step back and bring up the brain teasers and think they really were involved in this exercise.

My second challenge was that I might see these same providers again in two years, and I don’t want to show them the same brain teasers over and over again as it would take the Spark out my intentions, so I have made the brain teasers into PowerPoint Presentations and since then have developed about three sets of PowerPoint Presentations with different brain teasers.

If you want another opportunity for using brain teasers….try it on the day or night they are going to take an exam. It won’t make them smarter, but it might break the ice and allow for them to relax before taking on the rigors of the exam. Make it fun, and they might just relax enough to take on that exam…..

Suggestions for making your own brain teasers into a Power Point Presentations:

Have fun with it and enjoy……. Jim Boland

One thought on “Brain Teasers….get students started in the right direction

  1. In my 10 years of facilitating learning in thinking critically and creatively (no longer offered as a course as of the end of the spring 2018 – which I think is an academic tragedy), I have introduced this class with “brain teasers” which always engaged the students, enhanced their imagination, cracked open insights, and pushed them beyond the horizons of perceived reality.

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