When I was growing up, Mattel produced a game called HIGH GEAR.

high gear

The object was to move your pegs along the procession of gears until you reached the top gear. Each move required the player to figure out where each gear turn would go and what it would do to his pegs – and his opponent’s pegs, for that matter.

When my son was young, he had a similar toy. It used gears that could be placed on a board, allowing the player to form different configurations

We both learned about mechanics, logic, and planning through the concrete examples presented to us by our mechanical toys.

And now we have Paul Boswell’s game – or, rather, his device called TURING TUMBLE.


In what appears to be a game like PLINKO on THE PRICE IS RIGHT, TURING TUMBLE provides more than random chips that fall into random slots. Paul Boswell’s innovative project takes those random chips and slots, throws in some cleverly designed pieces (ramps, bits, gear bits, crossovers, interceptors, pressers, a book with 51 projects for the player to try, and even red and blue marbles), allowing the player to learn how computers work.

To quote Paul from his video on his kickstarter page, “We know how computers behave. Turing Tumble shows us how they work.”

You can find Paul Boswell’s words, videos of his prototype version, and more information at this link:


The site will go public on May 30 of this year.

*** A personal note: Paul’s wife Alyssa is a former student of mine, as were her two brothers and sister. Their parents taught with me for 25 years. That may not matter to you, but there it is.