Puzzles and Games

I do enjoy puzzles and the summer break offers time for more! A job for the holidays is checking and updating links to such resources. I have now incorporated a series of pages, Puzzles & Games on this blog, available from the top menu. All resources have been checked and there are many new additions in all categories. Further additions will be added over the next week or two.

To highlight just a few of this large collection, Algebra includes the lovely SolveMe mobiles puzzles.

Or for a rather different approach, try Shuttle Mission Workshop from Math Playground, here students build and solve their own visual math puzzles. Play Shuttle Mission Pro first to practise.

Nrich features on many pages including reading; Nrich has many excellent articles on the use of games in the classroom; hence a Reading page.

Math Playground – PEMDAS Exhibit

On Number, Math Playground, PEMDAS Exhibit provides great practice for order of operations. Touch an operation to form that part of the operation.

On Geometry of course follow Catriona Agg who regularly posts new puzzles and has made her collection of screenshots freely available.

Catriona Agg

Following each puzzle, you can find a discussion on the puzzle. Have a look at this puzzle and discussion for example.

In response to this puzzle, you can see various solutions including an Autograph file created by Rob Smith. Rob has this up to change both squares and you can move also move a point on the smaller square.

Another brilliant Geometry puzzle author is Ed Southall who has made 40 puzzles available to celebrate his 40th birthday; he has also provided slides for teachers. Check his Geometry Cheat Sheet.

A new category is Probability and Statistics games…

Guess the Correlation
Guess the Correlation – Omar Wagih

The collection includes from Cambridge PhD student, Omar Wagih ‘Guess the Correlation‘, a rather addictive game with a purpose – Omar Wagih is collecting the data on the guesses collected and using it to analyse how we perceive correlations in scatter plots. Select About to read the rules and further details.

Another new category – Underground Maths, the page includes several resources on puzzles and games from Underground Maths

Underground Maths – Equation Sudoku

From Underground Maths try Equation Sudoku for example.

We can write down equations:

f+g+a =19

m+k+c =16

and so on.

As always on Underground Maths we have suggestions and a complete solution as well as printable/supporting materials.


Erich’s Puzzle Palace – featured on Puzzles Page

Mathematical Memory Activities

Develop your memory TransumA Back to School collection of activities from Transum Mathematics was a reminder of many activities I like and a source of some new discoveries. Looking at the Develop Your Memory suggestions, I noted Number Recall something which I think I’ll try with Year 7 when we look at Statistics. It is often said that the average person can remember 7 digit numbers; the Transum activity allows a choice of the number of digits so we’ll see how good our memories are! I rather like the Kim’s Game activity here too which led me to a collection of Kim’s Games on Transum including Angle Theorem Kim’s Game, something to try perhaps when reviewing Circle Theorems.

Transum Kim's Game

Transum Mathematics – Angle Theorem Kim’s Game

Venn Diagram PairsIn fact, Transum has a whole collection of memory activities, the collection includes the various Kim’s game activities and many more. There are several pairs games, note Venn Diagram Pairs, which offers a choice of five activities including the traditional pairs game. We could also try the Formulae to Remember activities.

On the subject of pairs games, you can also find some on Nrich, try Shapely Pairs for example, where students turn over two cards and can keep the cards if they can draw a triangle with both properties. Quadrilateral cards are also available and there are further questions to think about. Or try a game of Statement Snap, where you will need to know about number properties.

We have more choices of math memory games – Mathisfun has a collection too, a useful index is provided of HTML5 Math and Logic games.

You might want to make your own Pairs game, I think some A level ones could be useful!
Try this (free) PowerPoint template on TES.


Games again…

Nrich - Estimating Angles

Nrich – Estimating Angles

I have I have been very happily distracted playing mathematical games today! It all started when I wanted to find a good resource for estimating angles which Year 7 will be studying this week. My favourite is this from Nrich. I like the incentive of scoring more points for greater accuracy and the fact that like all Nrich games there is an option to display full screen which is excellent for the interactive whiteboard.

This in turn reminded me that I wanted to do a little housekeeping on my Maths Games blog – which is basically just a collection of favourites – many from Nrich.

Find the Factors - Iva Sallay

Find the Factors – Iva Sallay

This is still a work in progress but I have removed outdated links and reorganised pages. I have added a Geometry page for example to remind me about the angle estimation interactive from Nrich. 

I discovered Iva Sallay’s rather nice Find the Factors puzzles not long ago so added a post on that and also included it on the Puzzles Page. Note the other favourites there – I do like the Set Game which is still published every day in The New York Times.

C1 Revision Resource - TES

C1 Revision Resource – TES

A games format always makes a change for revision. Have a look at this rather nice resource on TES for C1 revision (C1 is the first module on the UK A Level qualification – age 16-18). This uses Mark E Damon’s template which could easily be adapted for other topics.

There are some games templates available from the links below for those of you who may wish to create your own resources.

PowerPoint Games – from encw.edu/Edgames.

Game Templates  (note that these are free for non-commercial use – see About).

The last few days of term …

So – just a few days to go. I have a couple of Year 12 (UK age 16-17) lessons left. We have done everything we should and made a very good start to the Year 13 course – so what to do for the very last lesson? These logic puzzles from John Pratt should keep us happily and usefully occupied. (I have added these to the Puzzles page on Mathematics Games.) Or we could try another Kakuro Puzzle, students were fascinated by these when introduced to the puzzles by a member of the class. At the end of the year we ask Year 12 students to do a presentation to their peers which works well.

I wrote last week on End of term activities and mentioned the excellent Bingo games on Maths Box, colleagues have said how well the Treasure Hunts from the same site worked with their classes. Thank you Maths box!

Still thinking about games, I see that in the latest Nrich newsletter, Strategy games are featured for Primary teachers; these would also be useful for lower secondary.

This week I was pleased to see the new podcast from TES, ‘The Big Conference Interview Special’ which features interviews with some of the speakers from the TSM conference and  includes the pros and cons of using iPads in the classroom, a new curriculum for post 16s and an in-depth discussion about what the new UK mathematics curriculum will look like. At about 16.5 minutes in you can catch Criag Barton talking to me about the use of technology in the Mathematics classroom. The links I refer to can all be found in the slides here.

More Lovely Puzzles!

A consistently popular post on this blog is ‘Lovely Puzzles‘ which has links to many puzzle sites which include mathematical puzzles. This seems a good time of year to investigate some of these further. A good puzzle for Christmas Eve perhaps (or any day!) would be ‘Make 24’.

Make 24 (1)

Can you make 24? You must use all the numbers once and you are allowed the four operations and brackets.
(Further information and solutions for Make 24 and other Number puzzles are listed on the Number page on Mathematics Games). Number puzzles like this can make excellent starters.

Other possibilities for puzzle-type lesson starters come from Erich Friedman who has a variety of Mathematical Puzzles; try his Weird Calculator Puzzles for example or these Number Formation Puzzles both of which would make ideal ‘Bell Work‘.

Untangle - Simon Tatham
Another great collection comes from Simon Tatham, I have been enjoying his ‘Untangle’ puzzles (which I must remember for the next time I teach Graphs in Decision Mathematics!); it is possible to change the number of nodes – use the Type menu.

Whilst many teachers use Suduko and Kenken type puzzles (note that teachers can sign up to receive free weekly KenKen puzzles), perhaps less familiar is Rogo which is very easy to learn.

This post has taken some considerable time to write as I have been very happily distracted by all these lovely puzzles – including joining the dots (from Conceptis Puzzles) something I used to love doing as a child!