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23. "Solvable mysteries" are central to all natural learning processes.

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23. "Solvable mysteries" are central to all natural learning processes.

Provide solvable learning challenges at many steps during the learning process. They must be solvable mysteries-- not too hard, not too easy. In short, don't TELL your students an answer when you can find a way for them to figure it out themselves. Why is this important? The brain's reward system (primarily the nucleus accumbens) provides dopamine and other pleasurable chemicals to our bodies when we solve a problem, or "mystery" (Storm & Tecott, 2005). The mystery solving process evokes creativity and therefore nurtures strategic networks for the purpose of solving those mysteries. If a teacher simply blurts out the answer, the teacher robs the student from developing more intelligent strategic networks AND robs them of the dopamine rush that they would have attained had they been given the opportunity to solve it themselves. Also, the pleasure system can trump stress and helps keeps students aligned. Negative stress kills learning. Chaos keeps students in developmental purgatory. Therefore, solvable mysteries (pleasure evoking learning tasks that nurture strategic networks in the brain) should be the core component in any teacher's bag of tricks.

Q. Were you ever hooked on mysteries? Perhaps a mystery based computer game? How can you bring that unique 'hook' into your classroom?

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