Numbers are a huge part of my day! I'm either counting something, looking for patterns, or finding different combinations of numbers. I've been like this ever since I was young. Many of us see and look at numbers in different ways. I love to introduce my students to brain teasers to help them become flexible math thinkers and increase their perseverance with problem solving. It's great to find ways to push them beyond their comfort zone and have them think and look at numbers in various ways. At first, it can be a challenge for some children but they quickly pick up different strategies and soon start to love completing the challenge. I encourage you to introduce your children to brain teasers that revolve around numbers. The summer is a perfect time to get them involved. You will be amazed by what they can do!
Below is a list of different type of math brain teasers (I ordered them from easiest to hardest). You can buy these activities at a book store, in the newspaper or google them to find them online or as printable versions. Have fun, and remember to encourage your children not to give up!!!
Magic Square – an arrangement of numbers in a 3 x 3 (or larger) grid, where the numbers in each row, column, and diagonal add up to the same sum.
Sudoku Puzzle – a logic-based and number placement puzzle in a 9 x 9 grid, where the goal is to fill each row, column, diagonal, and 3 x 3 box with all the digits from 1 to 9. An all-time favorite!
KenKen Puzzle – similar to a Sudoku but can be in a smaller grid. Additionally, there are "cells" that are outlined and have a sum, difference, product, or quotient in the corner, so all the numbers in that cell equal the desired total.
Kakuro – another logic puzzle that is like a math crossword puzzle. It usually is in a 16 x 16 grid (but can be smaller), where you find different combinations of numbers to complete each row or column with a given sum (and no duplicates are allowed, ex: no 8 + 8 = 16, but rather 9 + 7 = 16 would be acceptable).