Math Puzzle Monday!

This week’s puzzle is a “shape puzzle.” To fill in the shape puzzle, you need to fill in every blank shape. Moreover, the same shape in the puzzle must always contain the same number: so, for example, if one of the squares contains a 3, so must every other square.

Shape puzzles are a staple in my teaching, because they both gently introduce children to algebraic concepts and allow kids to use backwards instead of forwards reasoning. Backwards reasoning always requires more fluency and understanding, and as a result, it’s very worth practicing once an initial mental model is in place.

You can click on the picture above to open a pdf of the puzzle.

Here’s the solution to the puzzle:

Please let me know if you have requests for specific puzzles (types of puzzles, operations used in puzzles, numbers used in puzzles, etc.) in the comments!

Math Puzzle Monday!

Time for a new math puzzle! This week, we have a true or false equation grid: each square contains an equation, and the job of the puzzle-solver is to spot the wrong equations and then to color them in. If done correctly, the wrong equations form a pattern! For my classes, this pattern is often a letter or a number, although that’s not the case in the puzzle below.

These grids are an excellent way to make sure that a student has a robust, relational view of the equals sign. They are also a good spot check for whether they understand the difference between expressions like 2﹣3 and 3﹣2.

Staying on theme with my recent posts, this week’s grid only uses addition and subtraction:

Click on the image to open a pdf of the same puzzle.

And as usual, here’s the solution if you need. In this solution, the green squares are correct and the red squares are incorrect:

Math Puzzle Monday!

Today’s puzzle is a magic square! These are really fun: the sum of every column, row, and diagonal must be the same.

In the square below, it’s possible to figure out this common sum without too much trouble. However, these can get much trickier. The trickiest ones require some algebra!

And here’s a solution to the puzzle:

Click on the picture to open a pdf of the puzzle for printing.

Here’s the solution to the magic square with the missing numbers filled in in red:

If you have requests for a kind of puzzle (or for a given puzzle difficulty), please let me know in the comments! These are easy to generate.

Math Puzzle Monday!

I thought it’d be fun to start a tradition of posting a math puzzle every Monday! I’ve been coding puzzle generators for a while, which means I should be able to create an unlimited supply of math puzzles for anyone interested. I’ll try to make puzzles that are relevant to recent blog posts. Correspondingly, the puzzle below is good practice for counting on, provided that a child is fluent with counting on without concrete objects and can rote count to 40:

Click on the puzzle to open a copy of the puzzle as a pdf.

And here’s the solution to the puzzle as a pdf, if you want to check your student’s work!