It has been over two years since I created my first digital science-themed puzzles on Science Breaks and because I have had a lot of changes in my own life, the puzzles and user feedback have both languished. Every so often I get a new email telling me that the form entitled, “Science Breaks Troubles,” has been filled out. I read every one of them, but my initial plan of replying by email to every one of them was too ambitious: I simply don’t have time.

Today I have created two word clouds via the newly named (formerly Tagul when I last used it in earnest) to sum up the two questions that provide feedback for me personally with regards to the puzzles themselves (green = strengths; orange = needs).

Interestingly, one person’s idea of puzzle’s strength is another person’s idea of a puzzle’s need. When one user says, “I like that the puzzle is made to be challenging,” another user says, “I wonder if you can make it a little easier.” When one user offers, “The answers are hidden in plain sight,” as a strength another user says, “Perhaps hide one of the links somewhere on the page,” as a need. There are so many more examples of contrasting strengths and needs that If I attempted to please everyone I would literally spin in circles!

With 289 successful solves, my most popular puzzle is Animal Crackers, which was originally designed for a generation of Grade 3 science classes for use during their ecology unit. With only 12 successful solves, the least popular puzzle is Bewildered Babies, which requires knowledge of the inheritance patterns of the human ABO Blood Group and probabilities of genotypes in the first filial generation to put each of three babies back with their biological parents. The former puzzle is available in the Breakout EDU Digital Sandbox, the latter was never ‘published’ anywhere beyond my own site.

I continue to watch the feedback come rolling in and the badges go rolling out, and I lament that some school districts block my AutoCrat emails such that their students do not receive their badge. If you happen to be reading this and know this happened to your students, please feel free to contact me and we can figure out another way to ensure your students get a badge! Thanks for reading!