Critical Thinking, Games, Geography, Math

“World” le, Confirmation Bias, and Combinatorics

Yes, you read that correctly and no, it’s not a spelling error. Jumping on the Wordle bandwagon, we now have a geography quiz called “Worldle.” Like its inspiration, it is a daily quiz that gives you six guesses. In this case, however, you are trying to identify a country or territory, the outline of which appears at the top. Your guesses are rated on “the distance, the direction and the proximity from your guess and the target country.” It looks like my average number of guesses needed will be 4, equivalent to my skill at the game that started this all.

Speaking of the original Wordle, there have been lots of comments bandied about on social media that the word list was changed when the New York Times bought the game. I was surprised to see this speculation was correct — well, sort of. People were suspecting the New York Times was trying to make the quiz more “bougie” or “elitist” with more difficult words, but apparently NYT didn’t add any words to the list. According to this hard-hitting, get-to-the-bottom-of-things report from People, they actually removed some words that they thought were too obscure or offensive (the latter was reported by the BBC). If you’ve played the game today (#247), then you will probably agree that the word was neither bougie or offensive. In a response to the flying rumors, @mjshally wrote an interesting thread on Twitter about this being a good example of confirmation bias. If you teach grades 6-12, the Wordle Word Wars could be a gateway to this lesson on confirmation bias from Newseum Ed.

Just in case you missed it, Donna Lasher has lessons for grades K-2 and 3-6 on combinations and permutations that are fabulous tie-ins to games like Wordle and everyday uses like passwords and license plates. I’ve added the link to her lesson, the Worldle link, and an Octordle link to my Wordle Variations collection here. And don’t forget you can follow all of my collections here.

BTW: Tomorrow is Twos Day! If you aren’t prepared, here are some ideas!

2 thoughts on ““World” le, Confirmation Bias, and Combinatorics”

  1. Great post, as always, great game. I was guessing in the dark, but did get the right answer, and the percentages help. Would any clues be possible, like Northern or Southern hemisphere, just to limit some guesses?

    1. I think the shape at the top is the biggest clue they are willing to give you at the beginning! After that the directional arrows and distances are really helpful, I think.

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