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All about stiXzzle answers

Child looking at stickers of stiXzzle answers.

Where do the words for stiXzzle answers come from?

Ministry of Education’s (MOE) 2015 character lists for primary school Chinese specifies the target vocabulary for each primary school level. The vocabulary list has 2 parts for each level – 识读字 (know how to read these characters) & 识写字 (know how to write these characters).

80-100% of stiXzzle answers draw from the 识读字 list.

A maximum of 20% of stiXzzle answers are from the character list of a higher age group* or outside the primary school target vocabulary. For example, a puzzle for the primary 3/4 age group may feature a couple of words from the primary 5 vocabulary list.

*There are 3 age groups: [i] primary 1 & 2,  [ii] primary 3 & 4, and  [iii] primary 5 & 6.

Why do we choose what we chose for stiXzzle answers?

With 80-100% of “within syllabus” characters, stiXzzle players can enjoy games on home turf since they are playing with what they already know or are supposed to know (do I hear some of you tiger mums out there going …. oooohh .… can use stiXzzle to revise Chinese…).

The 0-20% of “outside syllabus” characters expose stiXzzle players to likely less familiar territory where they can have fun encounters with new vocabulary.

In short, stiXzzle puzzles present an achievable challenge.

“Achieving challenges is a powerful motivator when students perceive the task is achievable and yet the challenge is difficult enough that students must exert enough effort to be rewarded via the dopamine-reward system.” (Willis & Mitchell 2014)

Dopamine, the brain’s “reward” chemical messenger, is released during pleasurable situations and motivates us to repeat the pleasurable activity. Think of the fun of playing with stickers. Think of the sense of accomplishment when a stiXzzle challenge is met. What a rush of dopamine. What motivation to continue playing with words. Vocabulary grows. And, magic happens …..

Reference: Willis, J., & Mitchell, G. (2014). The neuroscience of learning: Principles and applications for educators. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education. pp 26.


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