SOMA Crystal
SOMA News 11 July 2013

SOMA used in summercamp

Through the years SOMA have been used for both fun and teaching. Most thoughts have centered around the mathematical implications, and of the spatial awareness of the player.

This summer brought one more use of our lovely puzzle.
In March 2013, a mail arrived from Lyndon Hawke, asking for details of the figure 54.
It turned out that he was helping a friend to present a message of compassion, excellence and respect to 150 children.!!
Using various Soma Puzzle shapes to illustrate these character traits.
Essentially helping these Australian children to become better people!

The idea is based on Christian ideas. But I am sure that whatever religion you prefer, you will agree that the positive ideas, are of common global interest.
My feeling is that this is possibly one of the best use of the SOMA I have ever seen.

Through much of my own life I have had the strong feeling that we have a purpose. An obligation maybe, to show the next generations how to be good and true humans.
Many methods do exist of course. My own is to try to bring ethichs, morality, and positive thinking into my teaching. (I do, Math, Technology and Electronics.)

Anyway - The topics used in this project are so very central. And the way they decided to interconnect that with the ideas of puzzle pieces is so fantastic.
They have used the best way ever, because these young people are learning by hearing, and thereafter they reinforce it, by doing - by creating and by interactively discussing with each other.

It is my hope that a lot of good people out there - be they Christians, or other beliefs (who cherish the same values) - will read this newsletter, and take this super idea to their heart.

Thank you to Lyndon for sharing. - Now to the story.

SOMA and building strong values

On Easter weekend 2013 Dr Daryl Murdoch, Australian National Education Director for a sizeable Christian organization, faced a dilemma. How to keep a large group of children interested and engaged, especially when the aim is to convey an important values oriented message? Keeping the attention of children can be difficult at the best of times. They are accustomed to instant and interactive entertainment options – internet, Playstations, a seemingly endless number of television channels – to name only a few.

Dr Murdoch had been asked to take a series of talks to a group of approximately 150 children ranging in age from 8-11 in Perth, Western Australia. The theme of the series was ‘building strong values’ – how to build a strong character, how to develop a strong sense of morality, how to be strong and outstanding contributors to society. To assist in communicating this theme to the young audience, and to help keep them connected to the presentations, Dr Murdoch came up with a unique solution – the Soma Puzzle.

Lyndon Hawke and Dr Murdoch is gluing wooden blocks together
to make more Soma puzzle pieces for the children.

Dr Murdoch holding the Soma Cube as he speaks to the children.

A key value was attributed to each of the seven pieces of the Soma Puzzle
excellence, compassion, respect, responsibility, integrity, humility and hope -

In his presentations, Dr Murdoch expanded on these key values to illustrate how they can help a young person build a strong foundation on which to base life.
At the end of each presentation, a different Soma Puzzle shape was constructed in front of the children to illustrate and reinforce that evening’s topic.

Soma001. The square represented a strong foundation on which to build a successful life.
Soma008. The tower represented strength of character.
Soma020. The altar represented service to others.
Soma054. The cross represented self-sacrifice.
Soma018. The well represented the living water of the Christian faith.

Some of the children with a Soma puzzle elephant.

Prior to the commencement of the series 150 small Soma Puzzles were constructed (a huge Thank You to Graeme Mitchell, Perth). The Soma Puzzles were then given to each of the children at the end of the first presentation. They were encouraged to construct each shape – without looking up the solution on the internet! – prior to the next meeting. Some of the children were invited up on stage to show off their Soma Puzzle skills and received a small prize. The Soma Puzzles proved to be very popular – in fact more were constructed during the course of the series to meet demand. Dr Murdoch thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon spent chatting with the children while gluing small wooden cubes together to form the Soma Puzzle pieces.

The use of the Soma Puzzle proved to be an inventive, interactive, challenging and engaging method of tying important themes together as well as providing the children with both a lasting memento and a visual representation of a series of talks designed to help shape their young lives for the better.

Written by Lyndon Hawke <>
Edited by Thorleif Bundgaard <>

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