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Publication numberUS20060267276 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/420,562
Publication dateNov 30, 2006
Filing dateMay 26, 2006
Priority dateMay 26, 2005
Publication number11420562, 420562, US 2006/0267276 A1, US 2006/267276 A1, US 20060267276 A1, US 20060267276A1, US 2006267276 A1, US 2006267276A1, US-A1-20060267276, US-A1-2006267276, US2006/0267276A1, US2006/267276A1, US20060267276 A1, US20060267276A1, US2006267276 A1, US2006267276A1
InventorsRobert Farmer, Emily Farmer
Original AssigneeFarmer Robert M Jr, Farmer Emily T
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Themed teaching/tasking puzzle calendar game
US 20060267276 A1
Abstract
The invention is a themed puzzle calendar game, and its associated processes, that teaches and/or tasks a user to interact with a set of pieces and a board. The invention consists of front artwork, pieces, and a base board. Pieces are placed in predetermined positions onto the base board. Each piece and the underlying base board have matching indicia facilitating where each piece is to be placed. The pieces and board teach users information and/or task a user to do certain things. The pieces can be held in place on the base by an adhesive means including but not limited to magnets, Velcro®, electrostatic material, vinyl, or other means or material.
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Claims(23)
1. A puzzle game comprising:
a plurality of pieces, wherein a first piece includes a front face and a back face;
a base having a plurality of positions capable of supporting the plurality of pieces;
an artwork divided into a plurality of portions, such that a first portion of the artwork is positioned on the front face of the first piece;
a first indicia positioned on the back face of the first piece; and
a second indicia positioned on a first position of the plurality of positions of the base, wherein the second indicia corresponds to the first indicia.
2. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the plurality of portions visibly display the artwork when each piece of the plurality of pieces is positioned on a corresponding position of the plurality of positions of the base.
3. The puzzle game of claim 2, wherein the artwork is a photograph, a drawing, a painting, or text.
4. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first indicia instructs performance of a task.
5. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first indicia teaches predetermined information.
6. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the artwork, first indicia, and second indicia relate to a common theme.
7. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first piece and first position of the base correspond to a first calendar day.
8. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first piece and first position of the base corresponds to a predetermined event.
9. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the base further comprises a display portion.
10. The puzzle game of claim 9, wherein the display portion includes an advertisement.
11. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first piece includes an advertisement.
12. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the artwork includes an advertisement.
13. The puzzle game of claim 1, wherein the first piece includes an attachment member adapted to temporarily secure the first piece to the base.
14. A method of teaching using a puzzle game, the method comprising the steps of:
selecting a first puzzle piece having a front face and a back face from a plurality of puzzle pieces, wherein the front face of the first puzzle piece includes a predetermined first portion of an artwork;
examining the back face of the first puzzle piece for a first bit of information;
evaluating the first bit of information from the first puzzle piece;
determining a first position from a plurality of positions of a base that corresponds to the first puzzle piece;
examining the first position of the base for a second bit of information;
evaluating the second bit of information from the first position in light of the first bit of information from the first puzzle piece, wherein the first bit of information and the second bit of information relate to a common theme; and
positioning the first puzzle piece at the corresponding first position of the base after the first and second bit of information have been evaluated.
15. The method of claim 14, the method further comprising the step of waiting a predetermined period of time before selecting a second puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces.
16. The method of claim 14, the method further comprising the step of waiting until a predetermine event occurs before selecting a second puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces.
17. The method of claim 14, the method further comprising the step of evaluating the artwork formed by the front faces of the plurality of puzzle pieces after each puzzle piece has been positioned in a corresponding position of the plurality of positions on the base, wherein the artwork is related to the theme.
18. The method of claim 14, wherein selecting a first puzzle piece comprises finding a puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces that corresponds to a predetermined position on the base.
19. A method of tasking using a puzzle game, the method comprising the steps of:
selecting a first puzzle piece having a front face and a back face from a plurality of puzzle pieces, wherein the front face of the first puzzle piece includes a predetermined first portion of an artwork;
examining the back face of the first puzzle piece for a first task;
performing the first task provided by the first puzzle piece;
determining a first position from a plurality of positions of a base that corresponds to the first puzzle piece;
positioning the first puzzle piece at the corresponding first position of the base after the first task has been completed.
20. The method of claim 19, the method further comprising the step of waiting a predetermined period of time before selecting a second puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces.
21. The method of claim 19, the method further comprising the step of waiting until a predetermine event occurs before selecting a second puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces.
22. The method of claim 19, wherein selecting a first puzzle piece comprises finding a puzzle piece from the plurality of puzzle pieces that corresponds to a predetermined position on the base.
23. The method of claim 19, wherein the first task is determined by evaluating the first position of the base.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/684,727, filed 26 May 2005, the entire contents of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates, in general, to puzzles, and more specifically to a themed teaching and/or tasking puzzle calendar game.

2. Description of the Related Art

Perhaps the most common teaching device is the book. It is designed to convey information via the printed page. Yet, if the information is poorly presented, the reader may not understand the concepts of the book. A reader uses a book by turning its pages. Reading a book can take considerable time and it may be hard to understand. If the book fails to maintain the reader's attention and interest, the reader may skip pages or chapters. Consequently, he or she may miss information and as a result not gain a full comprehension of the concepts of the book.

Other well-known teaching mechanisms include flash cards. A flash card's design and its method of use are essential to its teaching ability. The flash card's design teaches something, and the way it is used helps people to remember. The design of the flashcard deals with the way the material is presented to the student. Its use deals with the way the material is processed by the student. In terms of design, a flash card might have a word on the front face of the card and a pictorial representation of that word on the back face of the same card. Another card might have a word or phrase on the front and a related word or phrase on the back. The design of the card determines what is taught by the principle of association. Representations on the front face of the card are associated with representations on the back face. These cards help people to remember by repetitive use. But, flash cards have limits in teaching. In particular, flashcards have limited entertainment value, are generally not aesthetically pleasing, have no daily methodology, and are not integrated with other materials.

While books and flashcards are useful teaching aids, teaching puzzles and teaching calendars are also known in the art. People have used a variety of other processes and devices that combine elements of teaching, tasking, recreating, reminding, tracking days, and tracking progress toward goals, events, or dates. Yet, there has been limited application in combining any two or more of the aforementioned elements into one process and/or device.

The potential for teaching devices, games, and processes has not been fully realized. Successful teaching devices and aids are designed and constructed for appealing consumption and comprehension. If a device is not optimally designed, the user will not fully consume or comprehend it.

Successful teaching devices also employ a methodology of use. If a student uses a teaching aid in the wrong manner, he will not receive the full benefit of the aid. Many teaching devices fail to optimally integrate design with the method of use or the teaching process.

Many attempts have been made to incorporate the successful elements of teaching devices such as books and flash cards into games. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,666,996 to Douglas discloses a card game where information on one card completes information on another card. U.S. Pat. No. 5,743,740 to Visser et al. discloses an educational card game with game board and markers. As people usually only play games for a few minutes or hours, most games have limited success at producing durable teaching results.

Many teachers have also attempted to achieve more durable educational results through the adoption of special teaching processes. Persons with attention deficits, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities may suffer particular problems with most teaching methods. Any teaching methodology that overwhelms students with information in a tiresome manner can hinder comprehension and memory retention. Predictably, most teaching processes take more than five minutes per session and present information overload problems to the student.

As with teaching devices and games, most teaching processes and methodologies usually only last a few minutes or hours. These devices, games, and processes fail to sustain and to interest teachers and students over time periods of minutes, hours, days, weeks, and even months. If the teaching process does not fit the particular teaching device or game, teaching and learning will not reach optimal levels. In sum, current teaching processes fail to effectively harness the potential of teaching devices and games, and such current games and devices do not adequately relate to processes. Teaching processes, games, and devices, therefore, should be redesigned in order to effectuate better teaching and learning.

Tasking devices, games, and processes are not as well known as their teaching counterparts. This may be true in part because people in our society value the need to learn or remember facts and information greater than the need to remember tasks. Though limited in scope and application, some tasking devices and processes have been developed.

One such device is the common pill box. Compartmentalized pill boxes that remind a person to take only the pills in each compartment one day at a time exemplify a tasking device and process. Many pill boxes do not keep track of the date, and instead track only the day of the week. Other box designs track neither the day nor date. The main function of a pill box is to remind the user to take certain medicine each day.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,431,450 to Coleman discloses a medication board system with recesses for pills corresponding to days of the week. This system helps users to determine what pills and what dosages to take on a daily basis.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,817,320 to Fraynd discloses a shopper's reminder system comprised of two indicia-bearing bases and markers having indicia. It is a simple reminder system without a time element.

Though tasking games and puzzles are not well known, various types of teaching puzzles exist. Most puzzles test a person's ability to solve a problem. In a typical picture puzzle, the user solves the problem by connecting the pieces to form a completed picture. Puzzles are generally designed to test a person's ingenuity and skill in putting the pieces together. Many puzzles are too hard to solve and they are generally not constructed to convey information.

U.S. Pat. No. 760,384 to Dieterich discloses a puzzle and game board having spaces, each containing separate characters. Associated with each space is a separate puzzle game piece adapted to fit in the appropriate space on the game board. Imprinted on each game piece is a singular representation that corresponds to a singular representation on the game board spaces with the reverse side bearing a portion of a design or illustration. The object of the game is to match the characters on the game pieces to the characters on board spaces until a completed design or illustration is shown. The text on the base and pieces describes the illustration. The front illustration has no indicia or features corresponding to the base and back of the pieces.

U.S. Pat. No. 1,339,399 to Kemp discloses a United States flag teaching puzzle game with serrated puzzle pieces carrying the name of an article on one side and the other side carrying related information.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,170,355 to Finkin discloses a teaching puzzle with permanently connected folding arms. An arm contains information that relates to information on another arm, and folding two arms in a predetermined manner will yield a message.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,961,708 to Van Niekerk discloses a teaching puzzle where the puzzle base and the puzzle pieces have corresponding indicia. The pieces may also have sequencing indicia, such as numbers, on their back faces. Van Niekerk also provides for a double-sided puzzle base with other indicia on the back faces of the pieces, but those indicia correspond to the separate puzzle base on the back face of the first puzzle base. In both the single-sided base and the double-sided base model, the completed puzzle does not display an illustration.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,149,098 to Bianchi demonstrates a jigsaw puzzle game with indicia on the bottom of each piece and corresponding indicia on the underlying base. This is not a teaching puzzle and is played in the manner of a competitive game. Traditional jigsaw puzzles and other puzzles designed without a competitive game element are much easier to solve with such aforementioned indicia.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,098,980 to Ramage discloses a puzzle where a story is printed upon a story board puzzle assembly area and the completed puzzle reveals an illustration. The problem is that once the puzzle nears completion, most of the story is covered and you cannot see the whole story or even an entire idea.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,702,586 to Miller discloses a teaching jigsaw puzzle book with a game board forming the book's cover and puzzle pieces on each page. Though the back of the pieces match the corresponding base areas, it is cumbersome and not simplistic in operation or design.

The two main goals of teaching puzzles can be at odds with one another. As demonstrated by puzzles with differently shaped pieces, one such goal is to solve the puzzle by fitting pieces together. Jigsaw puzzles are a common puzzle with differently shaped pieces. Another goal is to teach or convey information. Current teaching puzzles like jigsaw puzzles place as much or more weight on finding the solution to the puzzle as they do upon teaching information. Thus, completing puzzle piece placement can override the goal of teaching information.

In contrast to puzzles, attempts have been made at tasking calendars and various types of teaching calendars exist.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,090,733 to Bussiere describes a motivational printed product where an adhesive label or sticker is applied each day into one of the rectangles of the printed product. Each sticker includes a motivational thought on the front face which may be applied to the substrate that also has writing. Once the stickers are applied, they are difficult to remove.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,443,288 to Miles discloses a weekly pregnancy advent calendar with pull out tabs.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,799,423 to Malino describes a magnetic calendar that can be used to teach a child. Magnetic pieces bearing dates are placed onto the calendar base. The base is divided into an upper portion and a lower portion where the lower portion contains a grid with printed material in each segment of the grid.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,280,200 to Cunningham discloses a non-Julian calendar that informs a child of a particular event preceding the date of significance. The calendar uses removable tabs, but it functions only as a non-monthly calendar and is designed only for children.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,016,917 to Dubner et al. discloses a regimen calendar to aid in relating a regimen to a certain time period. It is not a tasking calendar per se, since it only applies to correlating a regimen to a time period.

The potential for puzzle calendars has not been fully realized. No process or methodology exists to train a person how slowly or rapidly to complete a particular puzzle. A person usually completes a puzzle within his or her own time frame. There is no guide that directs a person to place pieces onto a puzzle within a particular time frame such as one piece per day. Furthermore, these prior calendars are designed without puzzle functions and are, therefore, limited in teaching and/or tasking scope and effectiveness. Conventional calendars are not designed to be used as both a monthly and a non-monthly calendar.

In light of the disadvantages of the prior art, the potential for puzzle calendars as teaching devices and processes and/or tasking devices and processes has not been fully realized.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises game pieces with front and back faces, a base upon which the pieces are placed, and a placement means establishing a proper way to place the game pieces upon the base. The invention can further comprise a releasable securement means to releasably secure the pieces to the board.

Generally, the faces of the game pieces, and the base, each have artwork thereupon, and the placement means comprises a rule or set of rules on how pieces are placed in predetermined and corresponding positions on the base, via the interplay of the artwork on the pieces and the base. The matching of artwork facilitates piece placement.

In a preferred embodiment, the invention is a themed puzzle calendar game, and associated process, that teaches and/or tasks a user to interact with a set of game pieces and the base. Pieces are placed in predetermined positions onto the base, in some embodiments, a base board. A plurality of pieces, and preferably all, and the underlying board have matching indicia that comprise an element of the placement means, facilitating where each game piece is to be placed. The pieces can be held in place on the base by the releasable securement means, preferably being an adhesive means including, but not limited to, magnets, Velcro®, electrostatic material, and vinyl.

The front face of a game piece contains at least a portion of a representation, likeness, image, or object that corresponds to an icon on the back face of the piece. The representation on the front face of the piece should not stand alone, because it is part of the total artwork to be revealed upon the puzzle calendar's completion. The back face of a piece includes an icon that in some way relates to an icon or other artwork or text on the base, so proper placement of the piece upon the base is revealed to the user.

In some embodiments, the representation on the front face of a piece and an icon on the back face of that same piece correspond to a separate icon within a position on the base board. On any given piece, the front face art, back face icon, and board icon may all match, and/or correspond if not match completely. In other instances, the front face of a piece may not bear a directly obvious correspondence to its own back face or to the base. In such embodiments, the back face of a piece might incorporate text and/or an icon that while not obvious to the user at first blush, is essential to, completes the understanding of, and/or adds value to text and/or an icon on the base board. Similarly, particular base board positions can add value or understanding to corresponding game pieces. Together, the pieces, with their icons and text, and the base, with its icons and words, relate to the theme of the illustration, picture, or painting that is displayed in the completed puzzle calendar.

Additionally, the front face of a game piece that contains at least a portion of a representation, likeness, image, or object; the icon on the back face of the piece; and the base artwork, are each designed to mathematically match in positioning, and each is designed to interact with words in predetermined base board positions and on pieces. This mathematical positioning allows a user to employ the invention as a calendar device, where some pieces and base positions may contain information that corresponds to certain dates of importance or significance.

The object and icons are situated within the puzzle calendar design with reasonable precision so that, for example, one piece has a similar object on the front face, the same icon on its back face, and that piece is placed into its spot on the base board where the base position has the same icon. When all of the pieces are placed onto the board, the completed puzzle calendar displays the image of a painting or other likeness that is the theme of that particular puzzle calendar.

The invention's elements of design allow for separate but cooperating functions of theme, teaching, tasking, puzzling, calendaring, and gaming. The invention's separate but cooperating process elements relate to teaching, tasking, and calendaring.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the front artwork of the present invention, according to a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 2 illustrates the front face of a game piece according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates the front face of another game piece according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates the back face of the piece of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 illustrates the back face of the piece of FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 illustrates a base upon which the pieces are placed according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates an order of game piece placement according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a base with multiple game pieces placed thereupon.

FIG. 9 illustrates the base of FIG. 8, with all game pieces placed thereupon, and thus a completed puzzle calendar.

FIG. 10 is a flow chart illustrating a method of calendaring according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a flow chart illustrating another method of calendaring according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a flow chart illustrating a method of teaching according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a flow chart illustrating another method of teaching according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a flow chart illustrating a method of tasking according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 is a flow chart illustrating another method of tasking according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a flow chart illustrating a method of using a computer implemented version of puzzle calendars of the present invention according to a preferred embodiment.

FIG. 17 illustrates a preferred user interface of a computer implemented embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 18 illustrates a preferred advertising embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now in detail to the figures, wherein like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, the present invention comprises game pieces 10 with front and back faces 12, 14, a base 16 upon which the pieces 10 are placed, and a placement means 16 establishing a proper way to place the game pieces 10 upon the base 16. The invention can further comprise releasable securement means 18 (or attachment member 18) to releasably secure the pieces 10 to the board 16.

In a preferred form, the invention is a themed puzzle calendar game that teaches and/or tasks a user when he/she interacts with a set of pieces 10 and the board 16. For example, FIG. 9 illustrates a puzzle when all the game pieces 10 have been placed upon the base 16, wherein the front faces 12 of the game pieces 10 collectively form a finished artwork 20 or design.

Generally, the parts of the puzzle calendar include the front artwork 23 shown in FIG. 1, game pieces 10 as shown in FIGS. 2-5, and the base board 16 shown in FIG. 6. The front face 12 of the pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, the back faces 14 of the pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, and base 16 as illustrated in FIG. 6 preferably all correspond in a symmetrical and mathematical fashion. Pieces 10 are placed in predetermined, corresponding positions on the base board 16. FIGS. 4 and 5 show how icons 26, 28 on the back faces 14 of pieces 10 match icons 56, 58 on their underlying corresponding base board positions 27, 29 shown in FIG. 6. As further illustrated in FIG. 6, position 27 can be the eighth board position as numbered from left to right and from top row to bottom row, while position 29 can be the twenty-fifth corresponding board position.

The matching of icons 26, 27 comprises the placement means, and thus facilitates piece placement. When all of the pieces have been placed in their proper positions, the completed puzzle calendar shown in FIG. 9 displays an illustration, artwork, or image. Though not required, the invention can comprise releasable securement means 18 to releasably secure the pieces 10 to the board 16, and can include the use of magnets, Velcro®, electrostatic material, vinyl, and the like.

A. Tangible Components—Artwork, Pieces, Base, and Construction

The artwork 20, pieces 10, and base 16 of the present invention can each include many shapes, patterns, or proportions, including but not limited to a square, rectangle, triangle, circle, hexagon, or other shape. Preferably, the shapes of the pieces 10 facilitate smooth adjacent placement thereof, and the shape of the board 16 correspondingly works with the adjacent placement of pieces 10. Thus, square pieces 10 and a rectangular or square board 16 can be convenient. In any case, one can easily touch and feel these tangible components.

The physical dimensions of the puzzle calendar can resemble many likenesses or scenes including but not limited to natural and unnatural objects, animals, plants, persons, or other visual perceptions. The themes and operation can portray many subjects including but not limited to historical events, fairy tales, stories, school subjects, characters, movies, actions, and plots. The puzzle calendar can encompass, portray, or teach many concepts including but not limited to religion, math, science, English literature, grammar, foreign languages, health, history, law, medicine, business, economics, or any other subject that is taught in schools, universities, churches, synagogues and other places of learning.

1. Artwork

The front artwork 23, as illustrated in FIG. 1, can be separated from and can exist independently from the functional aspects of the calendar puzzle. If the displayed artwork 20 is taken out of the puzzle calendar context and wholly printed onto material such as paper or canvas, the art will be appreciated without an attached puzzle calendar function. For example without using the puzzle calendar, people can enjoy the aesthetics of a painting 23, represented by FIG. 1, that is shown by the artwork 20 of a combination of front faces 12 of pieces 10 of a completed puzzle calendar in FIG. 9. The front artwork 23 is typically a painting or illustration, but it can be other works of art such as a photograph. Like most works of art, the artwork 20 displayed by a completed puzzle calendar in FIG. 9 can completely stand alone without the other puzzle calendar features.

Despite the fact the art 20 can exist independently from the puzzle calendar of a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the art 20 should be utilized within a puzzle calendar embodiment. The art 20 is designed specifically to be part of the puzzle, and it is also designed to enhance the teaching and tasking processes. Paintings are specifically planned, designed, and arranged to reinforce the theme and to interrelate to the puzzle calendar workings and user manipulations. When the art 20 is placed into the functional puzzle calendar, for example, as shown in FIG. 8, it can contribute to the understanding and working of the overall puzzle calendar in many ways.

The features 21, 25 on the front artwork 23 in FIG. 1 can correspond to indicia or features 56, 58 on the base 16 as illustrated in FIG. 6, features 22, 24 on the front faces 12 of pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, and features 26, 28 on the back faces 14 of pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. Corresponding features generally make putting pieces 10 on the base 16 easier. Whether or not it has corresponding features, the front artwork 23 typically conveys the theme of the puzzle. When all of the pieces 10 are placed onto the base board 16, the completed image, as illustrated in FIG. 9, for example, may be of a painting or other likeness that reflects the overall theme of that particular puzzle calendar.

2. Pieces

The front face 12 of a piece 10 as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 can contain portions of the artwork 23 that is displayed when the puzzle calendar is completed. The front face 12 of a piece 10 may contain a partial, or whole, representation 22, 24, likeness, indicia, image, or object that corresponds to similar representations or to matching icons 26, 28 on the reverse side of that piece 10 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. A representation 22, 24 on the front of a piece 10 is different from an icon 26, 28 because it generally cannot stand alone. Such representations 22, 24 are part of the illustration to be revealed upon the puzzle calendar's completion.

The back face 14 of each piece 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5 can contain an icon 26, 28 or representation 22, 24 that relates to icons 56, 58 and/or representations on the base 16. Indeed, the icons 26, 28 of the pieces 10 can match the icons 56, 58 of the base 16 in some embodiments. The back face of each piece 10 can include text 30, 32, icons 26, 28, and/or representations that are essential to, complete the understanding of, add value to, and/or are correspondent to text 34, 36, icons, and/or representations on the base 16. Words and phrases on the pieces 10 and the base 16 can also refer to outside materials or tasks.

The puzzle calendar need not have icons on the back face of the puzzle pieces 10, but having icons on the back of the pieces 10 generally increases functionality. In a preferred embodiment, the icons on the back faces of pieces 10 and the base 16 are exact matches, but they do not have to be exact matches in other embodiments. Even if the icons are not exact matches, the icons still relate to each other and are suggestive of words and representations on the pieces 10 and the base 16.

On any given piece 10, the front face art 22, 24, the icons 26, 28 on the back face, and the base board icons 56, 58 may all match and/or correspond. The mathematical positioning of art, icons, and representations helps a user to employ the invention as a calendar device. For instance, the front or back of pieces 10 and base positions may contain information that corresponds to certain dates of importance or significance such as holidays.

As an exemplary demonstration of this calendar function, if the front face art 24 on piece 10 of FIG. 3 (being Santa Claus) is part of a Christmas-themed painting 23 as illustrated in FIG. 1, and it is wholly displayed on the 25th piece 10 as shown in FIG. 3, of a twenty-five piece puzzle calendar as shown in FIG. 7, the placement of that piece in position 33 as shown in FIG. 9 will correspond to December 25th. As December 25th is Christmas Day, the puzzle calendar may accurately track the days of December. Where the front face of a piece 10 does not bear a particular correspondence to its own back face or to its base position, the back face of the piece 10 may still bear a correspondence to its base position.

In addition to calendar functions, icons can serve teaching functions. The purpose of the icons is not necessarily to teach users about that object represented by the icon. Instead, a goal of the icons is to encourage a person to associate the icon and the object it represents with a meaning brought about only through interaction with the puzzle. Each meaning conveyed, taught, and/or tasked by individual icons is part of the overall puzzle calendar theme that is reinforced by the artwork 23 on the front.

3. Base

Particular base positions 27, 29 shown in FIG. 6 may add value or understanding to the corresponding pieces 10. In a preferred embodiment, the base 16 is divided into a grid that is comprised of a number of squares that equals the number of pieces 10. Each base square contains therein representations, likenesses, images, objects, indicia, icons 56, 58, and/or text 34, 36 that corresponds to similar representations 26, 28, 30, 32 on the back faces of pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, and also corresponds to representations 22, 24 on the front faces 12 of the pieces 10 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Generally, icons and wording are used on both the back of the pieces 10 and the base 16.

Just as with the icons on the back of pieces 10, icons and words that share a base position relate to each other and they are suggestive to each other. Words and phrases can refer to outside materials or tasks. The icons on the base positions may, therefore, match those on the corresponding pieces 10. Moreover, the words on the pieces 10 and the base 16 may complement the icons. Information and representations on the base 16 also relates to the pieces 10 and the overall theme of the puzzle calendar. With their respective corresponding icons and words, the pieces 10 and the base 16 relate to the theme of the illustration, picture, or painting that is displayed in a completed puzzle calendar.

4. Construction

The pieces 10 and base 16 can be constructed of a variety of materials including but not limited to paper, magnets, wood, plastic, cardboard, metal, Velcro®, electrostatic material, vinyl, felt, stickers, cellophane, corkboard and push pins, pressure adhesives, Lego®-type materials, and other materials. Additionally, the base 16 may be constructed with cut out tabs or slots so that the pieces 10 fit into their base positions. Thus, the very construction of the pieces 10 and base 16 can comprise all, or element(s), of the releasable securement means 18.

Puzzles can be constructed using the same material, or they can be constructed using a combination of materials. The artwork 20, pieces 10, and base 16 may be printed on many suitable materials including paper. The paper may represent the finished product or it may be permanently adhered to material such as plastic, wood, or magnetic material. For example, the puzzle can have a paper base 16 and paper piece 10 construction or a paper base 16 construction and a magnet piece 10 construction.

In a preferred embodiment, the pieces 10 are constructed with magnetic material. The base 16 is also constructed with magnetic material so that it may be adhered, for example, to a refrigerator door. The base 16 can comprise magnetic material with paper material fixed to the front face of the magnetic material. The paper contains all of the icons, words, and/or references. The puzzle pieces 10 may have magnets sandwiched between paper containing the front artwork 23 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, and paper containing the back of pieces 10 shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.

Alternatively, construction may involve pasting small magnet strips or dot magnets on the back faces of the pieces 10 and the base 16. Moreover, the puzzle and base 16 can also be constructed of plastic with magnets embedded inside the pieces 10. If a magnet construction is used throughout, the pieces 10 are releasably secured to the base 16 by magnetic force and the base 16 would be releasably securable to a metal surface. The functionality of the puzzle is not reliant on the materials used for construction, but the enjoyment and use of the puzzle is enhanced by magnet construction.

Another preferred embodiment of the present invention employs an internet and/or computer based model as illustrated in FIG. 17. Puzzle calendars can be produced for the computer and bundled into software packages or accessed from the internet Even though its construction materials are different, the computer embodiment is no less palpable than other embodiments. The puzzle can be displayed on the computer screen so that a user can complete the puzzle on the computer screen and learn. The internet or computer version can link individual pieces to websites and/or online advertising 46, as described more fully below.

B. Intangible Components—Processes and Design Functions

Even though it has multiple construction possibilities, the puzzle calendar's tangible elements of art 20, pieces 10, and base 16 easily incorporate several intangible processes and design functions. Though one cannot physically grasp these intangible components, they are readily appreciable to the mind. The invention's elements of design allow for separate but cooperating functions of theme, teaching, tasking, puzzling, calendaring, and gaming. The invention's separate but cooperating process elements relate to teaching, tasking, and calendaring.

All of these functions and processes may not be present in each embodiment, but a chief accomplishment of the invention is the integration of processes with design functions. Moreover, each distinct process may be divorced from the puzzle calendar and stand on its own. As a separate entity, each of these processes may be applied to any variety of things including but not limited to books, teaching and learning systems, or tasking operations. The processes can also run simultaneously and in conjunction with each other. When one or more of these processes is unified with the puzzle calendar and its inherent functions, the puzzle calendar reaches an advanced use. In this way, the processes can contribute to the puzzle calendar. Every intangible component of the invention can integrate and relate to another intangible component.

1. Puzzle Function

Whether traditional materials are used to construct the puzzle calendar or whether it is produced for computer use, the puzzle is preferably easily solvable because of the shape of its pieces 10 and the relation of indicia on the pieces 10 to indicia on its base 16. This ease of solvability does not impair, but instead improves and expands overall functionality.

Puzzles typically test a person's ingenuity to answer a difficult question or to solve a mentally challenging problem. People usually try to solve puzzles by ingeniously experimenting with different solutions and by guessing at answers. However, the present invention is not a typical puzzle. It is designed to emphasize teaching and tasking functions rather than to test a person's ingenuity. The teaching function places more weight upon teaching information than on finding the solution to the puzzle. In the same way, the tasking function places more weight upon tasking than on finding the solution to the puzzle. For instance, a user cannot miss any information taught or tasked because any unplaced pieces 10 should alert him or her to what has been missed. Thus, the goals of teaching and tasking override the goal of completing piece 10 placement. In many embodiments and regardless of construction, the pieces 10 are easy to apply to and to remove from the base 16, which aids in reusability. In some embodiments and if desired, the pieces 10 can be permanently secured to one another, and/or the base 16, for a lasting treasure.

2. Game Function

If the puzzle function relates to the ease of solvability, the gaming function generally relates to the recreational aspects of the invention. Many games foster competition, but the present invention focuses more on amusing players and on holding user interest than on promoting competition. Like many games, the fun of the puzzle calendar is only limited by the user's imagination. As the present invention is relatively easy to solve, one could try to solve it in a few minutes. Or one can employ the preferred method shown in FIG. 11, and place one piece 10 per day 210 on the base 16 according to what one is learning or tasking, as described more fully below.

3. Theme Function

Each puzzle calendar of the present invention preferably has a distinctive theme that adds fun to finding the solution. Teaching puzzle calendars are designed and constructed with themes that foster appealing consumption and aid comprehension of facts, concepts, or other information. On the other hand, the tasking puzzle calendar charges a user with tasks related to its theme. Whether it teaches or tasks, every part of the puzzle calendar relates and contributes to the theme. For instance, the icons and words on the pieces 10 and the base 16 as well as the artwork 20 displayed by a completed puzzle calendar reinforce other similarly themed functions.

Moreover, the puzzle calendar theme focuses teaching and tasking onto selected topics or subjects. Thematic teaching as well as thematic tasking holds a user's attention and makes his experience memorable and enjoyable. When a theme relates to a month, seasonal event, or holiday, the theme reinforces the calendar function. For example, the theme for a Christmas puzzle calendar might be the birth of Christ. The front artwork 23 could be a Christmas tree painting such as the artwork 20 illustrated in FIG. 1. Elements relating to the birth of Christ, for example, could be represented by the painting 20, the pieces 10 in FIGS. 2-5, and base 16 as illustrated in FIG. 6.

The theme of a puzzle calendar may be analogized to the plot in a book. For example, a puzzle calendar might be themed to the nursery rhyme of Jack and Jill. The front artwork 23 might depict a boy and a girl carrying a pale up to a well on a hill to fetch a pale of water. Together, the base 16 and back of pieces 10 could tell the story of the nursery rhyme.

One skilled in the art will recognize that the theme is only limited by the imagination of the creator. The pieces 10 and base 16 can tell any story, teach any subject, or delegate any task. The front artwork 23 that is most likely a painting can depict a particular scene or overall theme from the respective story. As described herein, theme extends throughout the present invention.

4. Calendar Function and Process

Unlike the puzzle, game, and theme functions, the calendar, teaching, and tasking components involve functions and processes. Each of these processes is distinct from the puzzle calendar and each has separate, stand-alone applications apart from the puzzle calendar. Independent of the puzzle calendar, the processes can also exist in combination with one another. For example, the teaching and calendar processes can be applied to a book or to another teaching system that does not employ the puzzle calendar. Regardless of the extraneous applications of these processes, a preferred use of the puzzle calendar employs the teaching and or tasking processes in conjunction with the calendar process.

a. Calendar Design Function

Just as the puzzle design function distinguishes the invention from all other calendars, the calendar design function distinguishes the invention from all other puzzles. Puzzle calendars are designed to correspond to a particular time period and/or event. For example, the Christmas puzzle calendar as illustrated in FIG. 9 corresponds to the December Christmas season. Moreover, the puzzle calendar can be designed so that piece 10 placement onto the base 16 matches dates of significance. For example, in the Christmas embodiment the 25th piece corresponds to Christmas day (i.e., December 25th). The piece 10 can be placed on any day of the year, but the puzzle calendar is designed to ensure that the piece 10 and base 16 match and relate to Christmas Day.

If used properly, puzzle calendars can not only relate to days and match days, but also track days. Though not all puzzle calendars are designed so that pieces 10 and base 16 positions match dates of significance, each puzzle calendar can track days if the user follows the calendar process. By design, the beginning and end positions for piece 10 placement are predetermined and fixed. FIG. 7 outlines a preferred ordered method for placing pieces 10 so that the pieces 10 correspond to days and dates. Also, the calendar process discussed in the following paragraphs is distinct from the calendar design function where pieces 10 and base 16 positions match dates of significance.

b. Calendar Process

The calendar process regulates when a user does things, such as conducing tasks or learning. It can regulate the timing of an event such as the day an event occurs. It can also regulate the frequency of an event such as how often an event occurs. For example, the process instructs a user when to learn a specific teaching, when to perform a certain task, or when to do some other operation. When one follows the process, the user receives the benefits of order, organization, and efficiency. The process also helps one to accomplish a goal or goals in an efficient and orderly manner.

The calendar process can match and relate an instruction, instruction set, command, or information to a specific time within a longer predetermined time period. The calendar process also allows an entity (such as a person, machine, or computer) to give instructions, commands, or information to an entity or entities at a predetermined time within a longer predetermined time period. The entity giving instructions could even give instructions to itself rather than to another entity. This process could be useful in artificial intelligence where a computer might learn from its own actions over time.

Presently, the process can relate portions of information to a student one day at a time for each day of a month. When the month ends the student will have learned the sum of the parts of information. The student should also have tracked his or her learning one day at a time. Thus, the process accurately tracks teachings and tasks over a predetermined time period. One may track his or her teaching or tasking progress by placing a piece 10 onto the puzzle calendar. Alternatively, one may make mental notes of his or her progress. Notably, the calendar process usually inputs, and thus simultaneously runs, either the teaching process and/or the tasking process. In sum, the calendar process can determine at what time and how often a teaching and/or tasking event takes place, and it can track those events.

The flow chart shown in FIG. 10 generally describes a method of calendaring. As one begins the calendar process 100, one also begins the first calendar session 102. If one is following a non-monthly calendar process 104 where the user is not beginning on the first day of a month, then the user chooses a start date 106. On the other hand, if one is following a monthly calendar process 108, then the user begins on the first day of the month 110. Regardless of whether one is following a monthly calendar process or a non-monthly calendar process, the rest of the calendar process generally follows the same procedures. The major difference is that the monthly calendar process allows one to track days within a month, while the non-monthly calendar process allows one to track days leading up to a specific date or event.

The next step in the method of calendaring generally requires one to gather and assess information about the tasks the user should perform or the teachings the user should learn 112. If tasking is involved 114, one may choose to simultaneously follow the tasking process 116 (discussed later) where the user could consult the steps to that process 118. If one has already begun the tasking process, he or she should continue with its “Begin Tasking Session” step (FIG. 14, 506) 120. If one does not wish to follow the tasking process, then the user simply does the task 122. Before ending the calendar session 140, one waits the time period required by the calendar process (one day), or alternatively one waits the time period required by the task 124.

If tasking is not involved 114, then one seeks to apply the calendar process to teaching by first asking if teaching is involved 126. If teaching is involved, then one decides if he or she wishes to follow the teaching process 128. If the answer is “yes”, and the user has not begun the teaching process, then one should consult and begin the teaching process at this point 130. If one has already begun the teaching process, then the user should continue with that process's “Begin Brief Session” step (FIG. 12, 306) 132. If teaching is not involved 126, then one applies the calendar process as best as possible to his or her situation 136. Regardless of whether one chooses to follow the teaching process 128, the user next learns the teaching 134. Before ending the calendar session 140, one waits the time period required by the calendar process (one day) 138.

Whether one is employing teaching or tasking the last step in any calendar session 102 is to end the calendar session 140. After having waited one day and after having ended each calendar session, one asks if there are any more calendar sessions 142. In other applications of the process, the appropriate time to wait 138 may be more or less than one day, but the ideal time is one day. If there are more calendar sessions, one begins the calendar process again with the next calendar session 102. One repeats this procedure until there are no more calendar sessions remaining. When there are no more calendar sessions 142, this concludes the calendar process 144. Lastly, one finishes and ends any teaching or tasking process that he or she has been simultaneously following 146.

As described above, the calendar process has many applications. One of the more effective uses of the calendar process is in combination with the puzzle calendar. Indeed, the calendar process can contribute to the puzzle calendar's operation.

The flow chart shown in FIG. 11 describes a preferred method of calendaring of the present invention where a user can track days on a monthly and/or a non-monthly basis. A user first chooses the day he or she wishes to begin 200 using the puzzle calendar. The user can begin on the first day of the month 202 or on another date of his or her choosing. The user should identify the first piece 206 to be placed 208 in the first position in the top left corner 204. Moreover, the user should place only one piece 10 per day 210, but should not skip a day. The user then identifies the other base positions 212 and pieces 214 in the same manner used for the first piece 10. The user then repeats the process each day until no pieces remain 216 to be placed on the base. FIG. 7 shows the order of piece placement for the preferred embodiment. Tasking puzzle calendars may have a different order of piece placement because the pieces are placed only after the task is accomplished.

The puzzle calendar can be designed to function as a monthly and/or non-monthly calendar based on the Julian or Gregorian calendar system. It should be recognized that the calendar process depends upon placing one piece per day so that the user tracks days. The monthly calendar process refers to tracking days within a month. For example, a puzzle calendar could be designed specifically for the month of July. On the other hand, the non-monthly calendar process refers to tracking the days leading up to a certain date or tracking how many days it takes a user to complete the puzzle calendar. The non-monthly usage is often applied, for example, to holidays such as Easter that change each year, to events like births and weddings, and to tasking calendars. Some puzzle calendar embodiments may have a dual usage as both monthly and non-monthly devices.

Regarding tracking, all puzzles are preferably designed so that one piece 10 can be placed for each day until no pieces remain and the complete front artwork 23 is displayed. With this type of design, the number of pieces 10 equals the number of days it will take to complete the puzzle calendar. The following example demonstrates that the calendar process occurs only when a user places pieces 10 onto the base 16 in a predetermined order. In FIG. 6 position 31, being day one, is the first day of the month or the first day of a countdown to a pre-specified date. The order of piece 10 placement shown in FIG. 7 is similar to the layout of a traditional calendar where the days are found in a left to right format. If a user follows the process and places pieces 10 onto the base 16 in order, the piece placement can track days. As shown in FIG. 8, the next piece 10 to be placed is the eighth piece in position 27. If the user began on December 1st and followed the calendar process of placing one piece 10 per day on consecutive days, the user would place the eighth piece on December 8th. Notably, if a user follows the calendar process, no days should be skipped and thus the user should also not skip or miss anything that is taught or tasked.

Tracking days in FIG. 7 differs from matching days because the user will not place a piece 10 matching a particular day unless the calendar process is followed. This process is further demonstrated by the twenty-five piece Christmas puzzle calendar embodiment. If the user wishes to place the December 25th piece as the last piece 10 on the base 16 on the date of December 25th, the user must have begun placing pieces onto the base on December 1st. As a function of design, the 25th piece would still match Christmas day even if the user placed the 25th piece on December 29th; but, the piece's placement would not accurately reflect the date. And by looking at the puzzle calendar, the user would not know how many days were left in the month or how many days had passed in the month. Of course, the pieces 10 and/or base 16 could also display the day and/or date in writing.

When a piece 10 and corresponding base position relates to a particular day, date, or event, this demonstrates the matching element of the calendar design function. In sum, the design functions with the process so that the number of pieces 10 matches the number of days it takes to complete the puzzle calendar and some particular pieces 10 match some particular days.

Where a puzzle calendar like the Christmas one is designed to be used within a particular month or time frame, each puzzle calendar should have at least the number of pieces 10 and corresponding base positions as there are days within the month or time frame. As previously discussed, when a user begins placing one piece 10 per day onto the base on the first day of the month, he or she is tracking the days of that month. Suppose a person uses the puzzle calendar to match and track days of the month, and the month ends with the person having a few unplaced pieces 10. Any extra pieces 10 can be placed within the next month or at the user's convenience. This would happen where a puzzle calendar has thirty-five pieces 10 and the month has only thirty days.

Since puzzle calendars are designed to aid in teaching and tasking, following the calendar process greatly improves teaching and tasking. Puzzle calendars and the calendar process can be a highly useful combination in any area where teaching and tasking are needed. These areas include any subject that can be taught, but also include less obvious areas such as advertising and recreation.

An example of a traditional teaching usage is demonstrated by an American Revolution monthly puzzle calendar embodiment. It is designed to be used in the month of July, but it can be used any time of year. This is a perfect design for teachers who wish to use the puzzle calendar to teach students during a fall month about the American Revolution. Using a July puzzle calendar in a Fall month shows how puzzle calendars designed for monthly use can also be used in a non-monthly manner. The pieces 10 can be placed on consecutive days in any month or combination of months.

Preferred embodiments of puzzle calendar designs of the present invention have twenty-five, thirty, or thirty-five pieces 10, but the puzzle can be designed with any number of pieces 10. For instance, some puzzle calendars may have forty or more pieces 10. The thirty and thirty-five piece calendars are designed to function within particular months where there are between twenty-eight and thirty-one days. Of course, puzzle calendars can be designed to have more than thirty-one pieces 10 and less than twenty-eight pieces 10. Even with additional pieces 10, the puzzle calendar can still track days. For example, a thirty-five piece Thanksgiving puzzle calendar is designed to track days in November. As previously discussed, the extra four pieces 10 can be played in the first four days of December or they can be placed all at once during any day in November.

The Easter puzzle calendar example demonstrates how a puzzle calendar may be designed for a particular non-monthly time frame but still be used in any time period. A twenty-five piece Easter puzzle calendar may have pieces 10 that correspond to certain dates such as Good Friday and Palm Sunday. If the user began using the puzzle calendar twenty-five days before Easter Sunday, his or her placement of the twenty-third piece 10 should correspond to Good Friday. If the user did not begin twenty-five days before Easter, the function of the Good Friday piece would still relate to, though not match, Good Friday. In this case, the piece 10 would not be placed on Good Friday and thus would not track the day.

A monthly puzzle calendar can also be used as a non-monthly puzzle calendar. When one places pieces 10 onto the base 16 out of order, this random placement generally nullifies the matching of pieces 10 to specific dates. But, tracking days is still possible with random piece placement as long as one does not miss a day. If a user does not wish to track days, he or she can place the pieces 10 on the base 16 in any desired order. If a user forgets to place a piece 10 on one day or misses placing a couple of pieces 10, the calendar process may be nullified.

As shown, the overall calendar process or methodology trains a person to complete a puzzle calendar not within in his or her own time frame, but over days and weeks. By following the puzzle calendar process, a person places pieces 10 onto the base 16 in a predetermined time frame such as one per day. For example, in a teaching puzzle calendar the user may place one piece 10 per day and learn what is taught by that piece 10. Alternatively, in a tasking puzzle calendar a person may place a piece 10 onto the base 16 when a task is completed. If a user places only one piece 10 per day and does this everyday without missing a day, the user will both track and match days by the piece placement. The user should derive the full benefit of puzzle calendars by relating, matching, and tracking piece placement to days. Even so, the user can miss a day and still follow the part of the process that is placing one piece 10 per day. Some tasking calendars may not be designed to track days. As illustrated, puzzle calendars can be monthly, non-monthly, or both.

5. Teaching Function and Process

Like the calendar component, the teaching component has a design function and a process. As previously mentioned, the teaching process can stand alone; however, the teaching process can contribute to a preferred use of the puzzle calendar.

a. Teaching Design Function

The puzzle calendar is generally designed to teach by the principle of association. Through associative teaching and learning, the puzzle calendar helps users remember information and cultivates better education and training in many areas. Repetitious use of the teaching puzzle calendar while following the teaching process can also noticeably reinforce learning.

The invention strengthens teaching and learning by association through its employment of pictorial representations 26, 28, 56, 58 in combination with words or phrases 30, 32, 34, 36. The use of words or phrases 30, 32, 34, 36 with pictures teaches users to associate the words with the pictures. The user also associates the completed puzzle calendar's artwork 20, such as that illustrated in FIG. 9, with what the user is learning. If, for example, a lamb is depicted in a displayed painting, the base 16 tasks the user to eat lamb, and the back of the piece 10 mentions Jesus Christ, the user should learn to associate lamb with Christ. And whenever the user eats lamb in the future, he or she is likely to think of Christ and the wording in the puzzle calendar. In this way, a user's memory is reinforced long after the puzzle calendar experience.

The puzzle calendar's segmented design allows it to be used individually as a self-teaching tool by students at home and also as an instructional aid by teachers within an organized curriculum. The puzzle calendar can be a teaching and learning system designed to enforce learning psychology by presenting information in the three tangible sections, or segments, comprised of artwork 22, 24 on the front face of pieces 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 2, 3, and 9, icons 26, 28 and written information 30, 32 on the back faces 14 of the pieces 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, and icons 56, 58 and written information 34, 36 on the base 16, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The artwork 20 on the front of pieces 10 makes a substantial effect when it is displayed in a completed puzzle calendar as shown in FIG. 9. The three physical aspects of the front faces of pieces 10, the back faces of pieces 10, and the base 16 are tied together by the visual representations on the front faces of pieces 10, the indicia on the back faces of pieces 10, and the indicia on the base 16.

Bits or portions of information are placed onto each tangible component, or physical segment, of the puzzle calendar. Two or more bits 32, 36 make up a chunk of information. Each piece's front face can be viewed as containing bits of the overall front artwork 23 that relate to the back face of that piece 10 as well as to its corresponding base position. Additionally, each piece's back face and its corresponding base position can contain bits or portions of relating information. As noted, these multiple bits 30, 34 of related information comprise a chunk of information.

One way to think of the teaching design's bits and chunks is to analogize it to the way computers store information in bits, bytes, and megabytes. The teaching design function “stores” information in bits and chunks. When all of the chunks are viewed together, one can analogize this congregation of chunks to the computer's “megabyte”.

Even though the teaching design presents the bits of information in associated, easy-to-understand segments, the user must consume the information in the correct fashion to obtain a substantial benefit. The associative teaching design of chunking together small bits of information onto each piece 10 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 and onto each base position as shown in FIG. 6 is optimized when the user follows a teaching process of consuming only one chunk of information per session.

b. Teaching Process

Just as the teaching design presents information in segmented chunks, the teaching process trains a person to consume information in bits and chunks. Accordingly, the teaching design can contribute to the teaching process. Regardless of whether the teaching process is applied to puzzle calendars or to some other device, the process generally does not work without the correct associative teaching design that relies on chunking.

Again, a chunk is typically two or more bits. A user consumes one chunk of information per session. Consumption involves reading or processing information. The teaching process has broad application and can be applied in many areas. For instance, it can be applied to a book, video game, audio tape, movie, or even paragraphs of writing. Another aspect of the process can be that it breaks down large pieces of information into smaller chunks. The process then further breaks down those chunks into even smaller bits of information. Once the information is broken down, it is presented to the student (user) in divided teaching segments referred to as brief teaching sessions. In today's hurried world of short attention spans, this revolutionary teaching process can yield dramatic improvements in memory, learning, and cognition.

The flow chart shown in FIG. 12 generally describes a method of teaching in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As a student begins the teaching process 300, the user should first decide whether or not he or she wishes to follow the calendar process 302. If so, then the user should consult the calendar process 304 and begin a first brief session 306. If one does not wish to follow the calendar process, then the user should immediately begin the brief session 306.

Predetermined bits of information are presented to the user only within specific brief sessions 308, so that the user is not confused with a multitude of information. With the goal of arriving at a chunk, one first consumes one bit of information 310. If any more bits remain to be consumed in that brief session 312, the person consumes those bits of information 314 one at a time. When no more bits remain within that session 312, the one mentally synthesizes the group of bits into a chunk 316.

Before synthesizing the bits into a chunk, one must consume the group of information as it has been presented in bits. Synthesis involves reading all of the grouped bits in relation to each other. When the user has related and understood all of the bits in that one group, the user has processed that chunk of information 318. Accordingly, processing a chunk involves relating its bits and also understanding one presented chunk as a whole. Once one has synthesized all consumed bits and processed one chunk, he or she ends the brief session 320.

After finishing one brief session, one decides whether or not to perform a second type of synthesis involving multiple chunks of information 322. One can view this synthesis as gluing chunks together. This synthesis is the same type of synthesis one uses for bits, but it differs because it involves a larger amount of information in the form of a chunk. The method of synthesizing and processing bits and chunks is analogous to the way one should eat food by cutting food into small bites, chewing it well, then swallowing it, and finally digesting it.

If one decides 322 to synthesize the most recent chunk of consumed information with previously consumed chunks 324, the user does so and allows a period of time to pass 326. If one does not wish to synthesize the most recently consumed chunk with prior chunks, the user still allows a period of time to pass 326.

After a period of time passes, one asks if there are any more brief sessions 328 before the user begins the next brief session 306. If any brief sessions remain, and one is following the calendar process 330, then he or she should wait one day 332. The waiting period of the calendar process takes precedence over any other waiting period. The calendar process governs the timing of when to begin the next brief session. If one is following the calendar process 330, and the user has waited one day, then he or she begins the next brief session 306.

If one is following the calendar process 330, that period of time will be one day 332. As the student waits to begin the next brief session 326, 332, the recently synthesized chunk of information 316, 324 sinks into his or her mind so that the user grasps an enlightened understanding of what otherwise might have been murky. The interlude between sessions further allows the information to take hold and root itself firmly in one's mind before the user interacts with new information.

If one is not following the calendar process 330, then the user begins the next brief session after waiting an appropriate amount of time 326. Here, the appropriate amount of time to wait can vary by individual preference, but an hour or several hours are probably sufficient. Keep in mind, the teaching process is optimized when it is combined with the calendar process. Therefore, waiting one day between brief sessions is preferred.

In addition to training users to consume only one chunk of information per session, the teaching process teaches multiple chunks over time within brief sessions. Though a brief session's duration may vary according to design or user preference, a session of five minutes or less is advantageous. As the user consumes many chunks of information over time and within brief sessions, he or she synthesizes and processes those chunks until no more brief sessions remain 328, and thus all chunks are exhausted. When no more brief sessions remain, one ends the calendar process 334.

Next, the student synthesizes all the chunks 336 that he or she has processed throughout the teaching process. Upon consuming and synthesizing all chunks 336, the user should have gained knowledge, understanding, and wisdom 338. For an additional benefit, the user may choose to synthesize chunks between sessions 324. Synthesizing the most recent chunk with other chunks involves reviewing one or more of the previously processed chunks. This review and synthesis greatly improves memory and understanding. The last synthesis 336 functions as an overall review of everything that has been taught. Before ending the teaching process 342, one will have improved his or her memory, learning, and cognition 340.

This way of processing small, chunked bits of information easily holds the attention of most students. If students consume less information within a shorter time frame, they may comprehend and remember better. Persons with attention deficits, dyslexia, and other learning disabilities may benefit the most from this invention and method. The puzzle calendar and its methodology of teaching (as illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13) should not overwhelm students with information in a tiresome manner or hinder comprehension and memory retention. It only takes a few minutes of use each day to achieve a benefit.

By disciplining the mind, the process also trains one to adopt more effective learning techniques. One's cognition will improve because the teaching process of the present invention develops new mental abilities and novel habits for learning and memorizing information in bits and chunks. Interacting with voluminous information in rapid succession can problematically cloud one's mental abilities, including cognition and memory. The teaching process and the puzzle calendar that employs that process solve this problem.

The main goal of the teaching process, as it is employed with the puzzle calendar, is to get the user to interact with the puzzle calendar in the most effective manner. Like the calendar process, the teaching process can be applied to many areas that are separate and distinct from the puzzle calendar. But, the preferred use of the puzzle calendar employs the teaching process. The teaching process differs from the calendar process because a user can choose to learn in many sessions during one day rather than in singular sessions over the course of days and weeks. For example, the user could place one piece, wait an hour, and place a second piece. The user can also play the same piece over and over several times each day.

As previously mentioned, one type of chunking refers to the small bits of information that are grouped together. The calendar process presets a user's pace of interaction with chunked information each day or each session. The teaching process trains one to learn small chunks of information at a time within a daily or session engagement. Furthermore, the teaching process feeds information to the user in small increments of usually less than five minutes. Accordingly, the information is designed and presented in concise chunks, it is processed one compact chunk at a time, and it is processed within short periods of time.

The flow chart shown in FIG. 13 describes the method of teaching for one puzzle calendar session. This teaching methodology should take less than five minutes per session. After beginning the session 400, a user first finds a base position 402, identifies the icon 404, and reads the words 406 within that position. The person then looks at the back face of all the pieces 408 and selects the piece 10 with the icon that matches the icon on the base 410. Next, the student reads the words on back of the piece 412. Then the student reads any outside material to which the piece and/or base position refer 414. The outside material, for example, could be a Bible verse, a specific topic or chapter in a history book, or a website. Finally, the student places the piece onto its base position 416. At such time, the session ends 418.

The end result of the teaching design and the teaching process is that a user learns information related to the puzzle calendar theme. The completed puzzle calendar conveys a message to the user. The person who completed the puzzle calendar will have a greater understanding of the assembled artwork 20 or picture than a casual observer. But a casual observer can still see a message in the artwork just as an art critic might see a story in a painting. The difference is that the user's interaction with the puzzle calendar produces specific memory recall that a casual observer does not obtain. For example, suppose a person completes a Christmas puzzle calendar where a wreath icon and a wreath in the front artwork 23 are associated with the Bible verse Isaiah 28:5. When the user sees the wreath on the tree in the completed puzzle calendar, he or she should recall and associate any wreath seen in the future with “ . . . a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath . . . ” as referenced in Isaiah 28:5.

The teaching process as well as the teaching design function can supplement or support other teaching tools and methods. For instance, the teaching puzzle calendar and its associated processes can augment or buttress all types of instructional means such as but not limited to textbooks, teacher lesson plans, professional courses, Sunday school lesson plans, continuing education, and other teaching and learning experiences.

In summary, the teaching process trains one to consume one or more bits of information per brief teaching session. In that same brief session, one synthesizes those bits into one chunk of information. As previously described, the process teaches only one chunk of information per brief session. Finally, the process teaches several chunks of information over a number of brief sessions. The calendar process can support the teaching process by regulating the timing and the frequency, as opposed to regulating the duration, of each teaching session. Thus, the calendar process tells one when the session will occur while the teaching process controls how long a particular session will last. Additionally, the teaching process can be intertwined with the tasking process in order to make the teaching experience more complete.

6. Tasking Function and Process

Just like the teaching and calendar components, the tasking component has separate but cooperating compositions of design and process. Typically, the mechanisms of the tasking design function and of the tasking process are similar to those of the teaching component. Indeed, “tasking” can be substituted for “teaching” in many aspects of the teaching design function and of the teaching process. For example, information regarding tasks is presented on the pieces 10 and base 16 in the same chunking manner that the teaching embodiment employs. Similar to “teaching by the principle of association,” “tasking by the principle of association” can be utilized.

a. Tasking Design Function

The tasking design reminds a user to learn a concept or do a task such as, but not limited to, reading a certain Bible passage. If the design has elements similar to a checklist or if it has an orderly schedule of things to be done, the tasking puzzle calendar can also help a user to plan and organize. The user simply adds pieces 10 after completing the required task or after a predetermined event occurs. As part of a checklist, a task for an April calendar might state that it is “time to spring clean”. Similarly, a task for a wedding themed calendar might say it is “time to plan your honeymoon”.

b. Tasking Process

The puzzle calendar tasking process solves the problems created by multi-tasking. Multi-tasking often confuses people and makes it impossible to effectively plan and organize. Tasking with the puzzle calendar forces order and simplicity into what was chaos and complexity. In the teaching process, consumption involves reading or processing information. The “consumption” in the tasking process involves acting on or performing the task. A person performs one task out of a series of tasks per tasking session. The process helps users get tasks accomplished within the time frame of the puzzle calendar and/or adds a method of organization to accomplishing tasks.

The flow chart shown in FIG. 14 generally describes a method of tasking in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention. As one begins the tasking process 500, the user should first decide whether or not he or she wishes to follow the calendar process 502. If so, then the user should consult and begin the calendar process 504. Next, the user should start a first tasking session 506. If one does not wish to follow the calendar process, then the user should immediately begin the tasking session 506. Only one task is presented within each tasking session 508.

When beginning the tasking session, one must decide if the task is part of a checklist 510 or part of a schedule 512. If the task is part of a checklist, one checks off tasks as those tasks 516 are completed. In a checklist of tasks, the person decides the order in which to complete the series of tasks. On the other hand, the order in which one completes a schedule of tasks is predetermined. Thus, one completes those scheduled tasks in the order presented 514. Whether the task is part of a checklist, part of a schedule, or part of some other series of tasks, the next step is for the person to complete the task 518. Upon completing the task, one ends the tasking session 520.

Upon completing the tasking session, one must decide if there are any remaining tasks in the checklist or schedule 522. If there are no more tasks, one ends the calendar process 534 and the tasking process is complete 542. If more tasks and tasking sessions remain on the checklist or schedule, and one is following the calendar process 524, then the user should wait one day (the period required by the calendar process) 526. One would also be certain to wait the time needed to finish the current task 528 before starting a next task. While waiting to begin the next task, one may review previously completed tasks 530.

If one is following the calendar process, that process governs the timing of when to begin the next tasking session. Consequently, waiting one day of the calendar process takes precedence over any other waiting period. With the calendar process, the completion of a task never requires more than one day. When the user has finished the task 518 and has waited the proper time 526, 528, then he or she begins the next tasking session 506.

If one is not following the calendar process 524, then the user waits the appropriate amount of time, usually the time needed to finish the current task 528. After that period of time passes, the user reviews previously completed tasks 530 and ends the waiting period 532 before beginning the next tasking session 506. Alternatively, one waits the time he or she wishes to wait before beginning the next tasking session 506. The appropriate amount of time to wait can vary by individual preference. Waiting can also fluctuate with the amount of time any given task requires to complete. For example, if one is taking a long time to complete a first task, the user cannot begin the second scheduled task until the first task is completed. If one were following the calendar process, the user would be required to wait a day.

The duration of the tasking session may vary according to many factors including its design or one's personal motivation and preference. As a person completes many tasks over time and within tasking sessions, the user reviews those tasks 530 until the end of the waiting period 532 when the user is ready to begin the next task 506.

When no more tasking sessions or tasks remain 522, one ends the calendar process 534. When finished with the tasking process 542, one will have experienced improved order, organization, and planning 536. Also, one will have realized the benefits of improved training, education, and workplace efficiencies 538. Finally, the tasking process helps one to accomplish the user's goal or goals 540.

The flow chart of FIG. 15 illustrates the method of tasking for one puzzle calendar session. After beginning the session 600, a user first finds a base position 602 and identifies the icon 604 and reads the words 606 within that position. The person then looks at back face of all the pieces 608 and selects the piece 10 with the icon that matches the icon on the base 610. Next, the user reads the words on back of the piece 612. Then the person performs the task referred to by the words on the piece and/or base position 614. Finally, the student places the piece onto the appropriate base position 616. The session can then be terminated 618.

The tasking process can help a person accomplish a goal by breaking that goal down into a series of tasks. For example if one is getting married, following the process can help the user accomplish all the steps needed to get married. By orderly following the steps needed to reach a goal, a person will become more organized and efficient.

The multiple combinations of functions and processes make the puzzle calendar platform expandable and applicable to many areas including, but not limited to, Christian devotionals, advertising, teaching or tasking in diverse subjects such as history, math, science, English, foreign languages, travel destinations, geographical locations, and life events.

C. A Preferred Embodiment

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention incorporate all the functions previously mentioned and the processes described, a particular embodiment may only incorporate some of these elements. For example, a teaching embodiment may not incorporate the tasking function and process.

Though the base 16 and the pieces 10 can take many overall shapes, the preferred embodiment has a square or rectangular base, square pieces, and a completed front artwork 23 that matches the shape and dimensions of the base 16. The base board contains a grid that is divided into squares as illustrated in FIG. 6. FIG. 8 shows how the square pieces 10 are placed onto the base 16, wherein each edge of a piece 10 interacts smoothly with the edges of adjacent pieces 10 and/or the base 16, to complete the puzzle calendar as displayed in FIG. 9. The base 16 and pieces 10 are generally constructed of heavy paper such as cardstock. All artwork, icons, and words are printed onto this paper.

There are multiple ways to present the finished pieces 10 and base 16, but one way is to print on both sides of a paper. Double-sided printing allows the front face of a paper to hold the front artwork 23 while the back of that same paper displays the back of pieces 10. Once the pieces 10 have been printed in this double-sided manner, the individual pieces 10 are machine cut. As the preferred embodiment employs magnetic construction, a strip magnet can be attached to the top back face of the base 16. The pieces 10 can have small magnets pasted to their back faces. Another option for the pieces 10 is to print the artwork 20 on one paper and print the back of pieces 10 on another paper. Then, a magnet can be sandwiched between those papers. The base 16 can be magnetically adhered to a refrigerator and the pieces 10 magnetically adhere to the refrigerator through the paper base sheet.

In a preferred embodiment, the front artwork 23 is a painting, but it can be any artistic representation such as a photograph. The artwork 20 and the completed puzzle calendar that displays that artwork each reflect a theme. For example, FIG. 1 shows a Christmas painting designed for a Christmas themed teaching and tasking puzzle calendar game. FIGS. 4 and 6 illustrate how the puzzle calendar directs a user to perform certain tasks such as hang a wreath 30 on a door 34. Further, FIG. 5 illustrates how the puzzle calendar teaches the user to read, for example, Bible verses 32. If the user places one piece 10 per day on the base 16, the puzzle calendar can also function as a daily devotional. The user associates the verses with the task. In the future whenever the user sees a wreath, he or she should think of the Bible verse in the puzzle calendar.

The front artwork 23 can be divided into pieces 10, as shown by FIG. 9, so that a portion of art is on the front face of each piece 10 as displayed in FIGS. 2 and 3. FIG. 6 illustrates how each piece 10 is designed to fit into only one correct position on the base 16, for example, position 27, 33. Each portion of art 22, 24 on the front face 12 of a particular piece 10 corresponds to a similar icon or pictorial representation 26, 28 on the back face 14 of each piece 10. In other embodiments, the front artwork 23 has no similar corresponding representations. Regardless of whether the front representations correspond to the back and/or base icons and words, the completed front artwork 23 conveys the overall teaching or tasking theme of the puzzle calendar.

In addition to the icon on the back of each piece, FIG. 4 illustrates how words 30 may be displayed. These words 30 on the back correspond to or complete words 34 on the base 16. Some or all of the representations 22, 24 on the front of pieces 10 match or relate to icons 26, 28 and/or words 30, 32 on the back face of respective pieces 10, as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. The front artwork 23 can contribute to the puzzle calendar's functionality, while it conveys the theme.

Though not necessarily the case in every embodiment or even in every piece 10 in preferred embodiments, the icon on the back of a piece 10, the icon on the corresponding base position and the front artwork 23 can all match. For example, the wreath 21 painted on the front artwork as illustrated in FIG. 1 corresponds to a wreath icon 26 on the back of that particular piece 10 as illustrated in FIG. 4. Together, the front and back wreaths 21, 26 match a wreath icon 56 on the base 16 as illustrated in FIG. 6. The front artwork's corresponding features should not be an exact match to the icons, but the correspondence is identifiable. Words 30 or references 32 on the back of the pieces 10 complete words or add information to words 34, 36 on the base 16.

FIG. 5 shows how the back of a piece 10 and base 16 of the can contain references 32 to one or more outside materials, including but not limited to, textbooks, websites, or the Bible. These teaching references increase the overall functionality of the puzzle calendar. The words, references, icons, and artwork reinforce one another and all contribute to the puzzle calendar's full functionality.

As shown in FIG. 6, the words 34 on base position 27 task the user, for example, to hang a wreath on a door. The tasks can also act as a checklist of things to do to prepare for an event such as the Christmas holiday. The words 32 on the back of the piece 10 can also teach the user to read the Bible and, therefore, add to his or her understanding of the Bible.

By the time one is finished with interacting with the puzzle calendar, one will have knowledge similar to knowledge the user would have gained by reading a book. But, knowledge gained from using the puzzle calendar has more permanence than knowledge gained from other sources. This is partly due to the puzzle calendar's method of teaching and learning by association.

In addition to employing themed teaching and tasking puzzle functions and processes, the preferred embodiment makes use of the calendar function and process. The twenty-five piece Christmas puzzle calendar, for example, demonstrates the previously discussed non-monthly calendar function. If it had thirty-one or more pieces, it would instead demonstrate the monthly puzzle calendar function. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the puzzle calendar is designed so that the twenty-fifth position 29 and last position 33 corresponds to December 25th which is also Christmas Day. If the Christmas puzzle calendar is started on December 1 st, the wreath piece as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 4 will be placed onto the base on December 8th at position 27. The last piece position 33 should be placed onto the base 16 on Christmas Day, December 25th at position 29.

FIG. 7 shows how the order of piece placement corresponds to dates and days within a month. FIG. 9 shows the completed puzzle calendar. The puzzle calendar can count down to Christmas like an advent calendar counts down to a certain date. As mentioned, the monthly Christmas holiday puzzle calendar for December could also have thirty-one pieces which would allow it to track the entire month of December. Of course, if the user chose to begin the monthly or non-monthly puzzle in the middle of the month of June, he or she would be able to use all of the puzzle functions except for matching December days.

D. A Preferred Computer Implemented Embodiment

As shown in FIG. 17, the present invention can be incorporated into a computer program to be implemented in a computer and/or internet based environment. An internet version may be accessed from a computer where a user can download many puzzle calendars from a website to his or her computer. The user could also choose to play the puzzle calendar each day from a remote website without downloading puzzle calendars.

The user interface associated with the computer program can be divided to three areas. The left side 38 of the user interface includes the representations of the backside of the pieces 10 (e.g., in digital format) that can be arranged in any order or configuration. For example, the digital pieces 10 may be scrambled instead of displayed in an orderly fashion. The right side of the user interface 42 contains a representation of the base board 16. The bottom part of the user interface 48 contains information such as links to web sites, advertisements, coupons, and additional facts 46.

FIG. 16 shows a flow chart describing a method of using a computer implemented version of the calendar puzzle. While looking at the right side of the user interface 700 (also referred to herein as a screen, as the user interface is generally displayed on a computer screen) and a particular base position 702, a user identifies the icon within that base position 704 and reads the words on that base position 706. Next, the person looks at the left side of the user interface 708, selects the back face of a piece 10 with a matching icon 710, and reads the words on the back face of that piece 712. The user then reads any outside material or does any task to which the base 16 or piece 10 refers 714. After identifying the piece 10 to be placed on the base 16, the user points to that piece 10 with a mouse arrow or keyboard command 718 and clicks on that piece 716. Next, the user looks at the right side of the user interface 720. The user then moves the mouse arrow over the matching base position 722 and clicks on that base position 724. Generally, this is the equivalent of placing a piece on the puzzle in the primary embodiment.

FIG. 17 shows that as a user clicks on pieces 41 and their corresponding base positions, the computer program removes the pieces 10 from the left side of the user interface, turns the pieces 10 over, and places those pieces 44 onto the base 16. The user should simply find unused pieces 40 on the left side of the user interface 38 and click on them and the empty base positions 35 until no pieces 10 remain on the left side of the user interface 38. As the user is completing the puzzle calendar, a part of the artwork 20 is shown on base 16 on the right side of the user interface 42. The computer program can also provide, for example, web links to outside resources 46 as each piece 10 is placed on the base 16. These links may refer the user to websites of further interest or even advertisements. Different kinds of information 46 can be displayed in the bottom portion of the user interface 48.

Though similar, the computer implemented version of the puzzle calendar allows for several enhancements over the non-computer version. The display on the right side of the user interface can represent the base 16 as illustrated in FIGS. 6, 8, and 9. Upon completion and as in FIG. 9, the entire user interface can display the whole artwork 20 represented by FIG. 1. In another embodiment, the artwork 20 may be used as a screen saver. Furthermore, the puzzle calendar may be animated upon completion. The animation reinforces the overall image of the artwork 20 in the minds of users. Alternatively, the front face artwork 23 on each piece 10 may be animated as each piece 10 is placed on the base 16. In this way, animation can further improve user memory.

The computer implemented embodiment can also play music and/or other sounds such as spoken words when each piece 10 is placed. Sound increases the user interaction factor. Clicking to place each piece 10 can also produce web links at the bottom of the user interface and/or give more information. Sounds such as spoken words can tell a story from speakers connected to the computer as each piece 10 is placed. Sound can also be used with final solution to the puzzle. For example, a predetermined song can be played upon completion of the puzzle calendar.

A Thanksgiving puzzle calendar, for example, demonstrates some of the possibilities of the computer implemented embodiment. For example, if the user clicks on a turkey icon, and the computer program places the turkey piece 10 on the puzzle, the computer may show web links where the user can learn more about turkeys, buy turkeys, or travel to turkey farms. In an animated computer implemented version, the turkey may “cluck” and turn its head when that piece 10 is played. Or, upon completion of the puzzle calendar the turkey may turn its head as an animation of the pilgrims signing the Mayflower Compact and an Indian shooting a deer with an arrow is displayed.

Puzzle calendars can also be packaged into teaching and learning software packages that students can purchase to learn about particular topics. A student can use the software packs to learn about history or math for example. The history puzzles may have links related not only to learning but also to travel and to shopping. For example, a student may learn about traveling to Plymouth, Mass. when he or she uses a Pilgrim or Thanksgiving puzzle. As shown, the software could be packaged on a computer-readable medium (e.g., a compact disc), and it could prompt users to click on links to websites. This concept can be expanded beyond teaching and tasking and into advertising for shopping. Summarily, software packages, interactive websites, and portable electronic puzzle boards are all possible variations of this embodiment.

E. Advertising Version

FIG. 18 illustrates a preferred advertising embodiment and demonstrates one way the present invention can be adapted for advertising. The puzzle calendar may have an advertising strip attached to the top 66 and/or the bottom 70 of the base 16. The strip can run the length of the base 16 and it can be a fraction of the width of a piece 10. The strip may be magnetized while the base 16 is non-magnetized. Such a configuration should allow the base 16 to hang from a refrigerator, for example, by the magnetized strip. Magnetized pieces 10 can then easily adhere to the refrigerator and through the hanging base 16.

The advertising on the strip is not part of the puzzle calendar, but that advertising is generally inseparable from the puzzle calendar's base 16. The strip can contain many types of advertising information including a website address 60, an individual's or company's name 62, and a phone number 64. Additionally, the puzzle calendar can contain contact information pertaining to the manufacturer of the puzzle calendars 68. Of course, many types of advertising information may be contained in the strip area 66, 68. With a strip at the top and at the bottom of the base 16, the puzzle calendar can effectively convey two advertisements.

As the strip is generally inseparable from the base 16, the advertising puzzle calendar should keep the name of the advertising company, person, or firm in front of clients and potential clients for many weeks at a time. Corporate and other advertisers can give puzzle calendars to clients and potential clients as holiday gifts, birthday presents, and special promotions. The base positions and piece faces may further be adapted to include advertising information.

F. E-Mail Version

A version of the computer implemented embodiment of the present invention can allow for a digital representation of the pieces 10 to be e-mailed to the user. A digital representation of the base 16 and instructions can be e-mailed to the user first. Then the pieces 10 can be e-mailed at the rate of one each day. Pieces 10 may also be e-mailed at other predetermined times such as upon completion of a teaching concept or task. Teaching and tasking calendars may employ slightly different schedules for mailing pieces 10. Whatever the schedule of e-mailing pieces 10, the e-mail version is a highly effective method of motivating students and others. E-mailing pieces 10 makes a great homework supplement for students. For both teaching and tasking puzzle calendars, the pieces 10 may be e-mailed according to a predetermined schedule. This embodiment can also be employed in advertising and its operation in advertising can be similar to the mail version discussed below.

G. Mail Version

Another embodiment employs the mail system to deliver pieces 10 to users. This embodiment is particularly adaptable to advertising campaigns. First, the base board 16 and the initial piece or pieces 10 can be mailed to a user. Alternatively, these items can be given to a shopper when he or she visits a store. Second, the pieces 10 can be mailed to the user according to a predetermined schedule. After the user completes the puzzle calendar at home, he or she can bring it to the store to claim a store discount, a free gift, or a prize.

H. How to Use the Puzzle Calendar

One can enjoy the benefits of puzzle calendars year after year. And, puzzle calendars can significantly reinforce classroom or other instructional learning. The teaching puzzle calendar of the present invention is based on the principle that one learns best by processing small bits of information at a time. It breaks down information into small easy-to-process and easy-to-remember chunks. Similarly, tasking puzzle calendars break down tasks into easy-to-accomplish daily exercises.

With these fun and easy-to-use puzzle calendars, an adult, a teenager, or a child can learn one new fact each day or perform one new task each day. If the puzzle calendar employs magnets, one can place the magnetic base 16 on the refrigerator, for example, where it is sure to catch everyone's attention. As people place the magnetic pieces 10 onto the base 16, the whole family can enjoy learning together. If the puzzle calendar does not employ magnets or if one does not wish to use the magnetic features, the user can simply place the base 16 on any flat surface, such as a table or desk, and arrange the pieces 10 on the base 16.

Not only are puzzle calendars fun and easy, they greatly aid the process of teaching and learning, and are a more reliable way to learn than reading alone. When a person places individual pieces onto the base, he or she should learn concepts related to a particular theme. The completed puzzle calendar results in a person learning many facts about a subject, just as if a book had been read. This remarkable new manner and method of teaching immediately produces tangible, solid learning and enhanced memory.

Puzzle calendars not only benefit memory and learning, they work better than other devices and methods. Puzzle calendars considerably improve both short-term and long-term memories. A brief burst of interaction with the puzzle calendar markedly improves short term recollection. On the other hand, daily puzzle calendar usage produces a more durable memory over time than other forms of learning.

All types of students, including those at the elementary, high school, college, and graduate levels, will benefit from puzzle calendars. Also, professional and corporate users can employ them as training aids or tasking devices. As the puzzle calendars improve short-term memory recall and increase memory durability, they provide a wonderful and meaningful tool for all types of teaching and tasking

People who combine their use of the puzzle calendar with its processes are more likely to experience an even greater benefit to their short and long term memories. The puzzle calendar and its processes can aid, improve, and speed learning for all those who use it. Many mentally challenged people, including attention deficit and dyslexia sufferers, may see a dramatic benefit from using the puzzle calendar and its processes.

Puzzle calendars are a practical, efficient, and fruitful means for all types of teaching. The present invention can be used by teachers and students to teach and master school subjects as well as difficult intellectual concepts. Furthermore, retailers may employ puzzle calendars as advertising devices to help educate potential buyers about products. Also, many corporations may wish to employ puzzle calendars for a variety of uses including but not limited to training workers, advertising products, fostering goodwill, and educating the public.

As the name implies, the puzzle calendar is a puzzle and a calendar. By adding a calendar structure and method to puzzles, puzzle calendars also demonstrate a new teaching tool and tasking technique. As the number of puzzle calendar pieces 10 exactly matches the number of base positions, the user cannot miss anything that is taught or tasked. Likewise, one cannot skip the “pages” or “chapters” of a puzzle calendar. If the user is following the calendar process, the user should not skip over valuable information, learn facts out of order, or task inefficiently.

The teaching and tasking processes can produce incredible results in teaching, learning, and tasking if the participant uses the puzzle calendar as instructed. Users of the teaching puzzle calendar who follow the unique calendar process by placing one piece 10 onto the base 16 each day should notice substantial benefits. Students can bear the fruit of learning with just minutes of usage per day. Users of the tasking puzzle calendar who follow the calendar process by placing one piece 10 onto the base 16 after completing each task can receive a similar benefit.

If desired, the teaching and tasking processes can be used in a more rapid fashion. For example, the participant may choose to complete the entire puzzle calendar at one sitting. The effect of a completed puzzle calendar's displayed artwork 20 reinforces the subjects and concepts that are taught or tasked. The icons and the wording on the base 16 and on the backs of puzzle pieces 10 reify information in the participant's mind.

The teaching, tasking, and calendaring processes are substantially different from any known system. When one simultaneously employs two or three of these processes, the user should experience dramatic benefits and improvements in learning and tasking. The following are just some of the ways the calendaring, teaching, and tasking processes help people. Calendaring regulates when and how often one learns or tasks. Teaching improves one's learning, understanding, and remembering. Tasking improves one's order, efficiencies, and achievement.

The puzzle calendar's design is interwoven with its processes. The themed design and the front artwork 23 leave a lasting memorial in the mind. On each piece 10 and within each base position, the pictorial icons and the wording reinforce each other. For teaching, the pieces 10 and base 16 put forth a subject's most salient points in an easy-to-use and an easy-to-understand manner. Where a task is involved, the puzzle calendar forces the user to interact with the outside world. Through tasking, the puzzle calendar may help a person plan a wedding, plan for a child's birth, or learn a new subject. Whether it teaches or tasks, the puzzle calendar is fun to use and easy to complete.

The puzzle calendar method of teaching produces new and unexpected results of improving memory, learning, and cognition. It teaches people and improves cognition by grouping small bits of information into chunks that the user consumes preferably one day at a time. The user's physical interaction of placing pieces 10 onto the base 16 stimulates his or her sense of touch. Thus, the teaching process produces a more tangible and a more memorable learning experience than other methods such as reading where a reader just flips a page. The user also receives visual stimulation by pictures and/or icons as well as verbal stimulation by words. For additional and reinforced learning, a person can speak the words on the back of the pieces 10 and the base 16.

As previously mentioned, the puzzle calendar design and process conveys information in a manner that improves teaching, learning, and tasking. The puzzle calendar pulses information to students in small chunks for a limited duration each day, but it does this over the course of days and weeks so that students can reach their full learning potential. Teachers also benefit because each piece presents a new topic for discussion each day. Teachers can reach their maximum teaching potential because the device presents material in a concise and an efficient manner. Further, puzzle calendars can be designed to accompany any book or textbook.

Puzzle calendars can help one to keep information readily available. When one interacts with the puzzle calendar, the user's intellectual exercises and mental impressions differ greatly from the calculations and memories that may be experienced with other devices and processes. Use of the puzzle calendar forces one's mind to operate both mathematically and aesthetically. The front artwork 23 produces a lasting aesthetic memory that is similar to the impression one gets when first discovering the overall plot or theme of a book and later recalling that discovery.

Using a puzzle calendar is a right brain/left brain mental exercise. The puzzle calendar and its processes engage a person's spatial and logical abilities. The aesthetic front artwork 23 reinforces the mathematical use of the base 16 and the back faces of the individual pieces 10. Furthermore, the back faces of the pieces 10 and the base positions can direct the user to outside references such as, but not limited to, books, the Bible, training manuals, web sites, and other media.

Certainly, the puzzle calendar produces much improved memory, learning, and cognition that is more durable than the memory, learning, and cognition derived from other devices and methods. By combining left and right brain functions, and by teaching in slow daily steps, the puzzle calendar solidifies one's mental understanding of subjects and the whole foundation of learning. Among its many benefits, the puzzle calendar can help a person achieve educational excellence and reach personal goals.

Accordingly, the present invention can provide many advantages over traditional puzzles, games, calendars, teaching methods and processes, and tasking methods and processes. For example, puzzle calendars have broad application to holidays such as Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas. They can teach a variety of subjects including the Bible, history, science, and math. They can teach about destinations like resorts or locations such as cities, states, and countries. They can familiarize users with subjects and areas by tasking users to relate to those subjects and locations. They can be used in advertising. And they can be employed for life events such as having a baby or getting married.

The teaching, tasking, and calendaring processes can be applied to, and thus improve, a multitude of existing teaching, tasking, and calendaring devices. The potential beneficial applications of puzzle calendars, with the teaching, tasking, and calendaring processes, are limitless and invaluable.

While the invention has been disclosed in its preferred forms, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that many modifications, additions, and deletions can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and its equivalents as set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7631870 *Jun 22, 2007Dec 15, 2009Daina T BennettBooks of the Holy Bible learning activity
US8052149Jan 13, 2009Nov 8, 2011Madelaine Chocolate Novelties, Inc.Interactive chocolate board game
US20100019451 *Oct 7, 2009Jan 28, 2010Kucharski Karen AGame apparatus and method
WO2012109796A1 *Feb 18, 2011Aug 23, 2012Shih-Hung ChuangJigsaw puzzle perpetual calendar
WO2013004896A1Jun 19, 2012Jan 10, 2013Teemu SantonenCalendar game
Classifications
U.S. Classification273/157.00R
International ClassificationA63F9/10
Cooperative ClassificationA63F2009/1005, A63F2001/0408, A63F9/1044, A63F2003/0011, A63F2009/0061, A63F9/10
European ClassificationA63F9/10