You may have noticed a few interesting sheets of puzzles in the video of my math salon. Here's one:

These came from

**, a compendium of 75 delightful puzzles. Each puzzle has one or a few sections that are filled in to show show the puzzle works. Then there are more sections ready to be thought about and puzzled over. The puzzles get you thinking mathematically in new ways, and range from easy enough to engage five year olds, to hard enough to stump the grownups.**

*Math Without Words*Folks at the math salon really loved these puzzles, and I think you will too. You can buy a print copy of the book for $27.50 or download an electronic version for $19.50. Both are available at Lulu. I just now bought the electronic version, so I can more easily make copies for the groups I work with.

That first puzzle may look too easy. But for young kids it really is a great puzzle. Here's another puzzle we enjoyed at the math salon:

And I'll leave you with a more challenging puzzle that we haven't tried at the salon yet:

If you'd rather have a dozen of the puzzles in wall calendar form, that's available too. Next up for review is Thinking Mathematics, Volume 1: Arithmetic = Gateway to All.

If you say, "1...2...3...5...8 to me I think Fibonacci...

ReplyDeleteAhh, yes. I suppose that means this puzzle isn't particularly challenging. But figuring out why might be harder. And you know how some patterns start out one way, and veer off in another direction...

ReplyDeleteThanks for the review! I saw this link on the living math group, and I'm planning to get the download for my math club this fall. With the recent kerfuffle over MathCounts, and with having enjoyed your video so much, I decided to try your "system" of putting stuff out and letting people play --- and as soon as registration opened, my group overflowed onto a waiting list. Should be a fun semester...

ReplyDeleteDenise, what age range do you have in this 'class'? I'm sure you'll get to do lots more structured activities if you meet weekly with a constant group. What title did you use for your 'class'?

ReplyDeleteAt the college, our beginning and intermediate algebra classes have an extra 'hour by arrangement'. The students who come to me for that will get the games and puzzles treatment. Today is the first day for that and I'm deciding what to pack.

This looks really cool! I tutor 5th graders after school, and this seems like it would get them thinking. They have all missed out on lots of math basics and are now afraid of/hate "MATH". Now if only I could get my principal to cough up the money...

ReplyDeleteFor 27, that diagram is always part of our solution to "Ghost the Bunny" - the first Fibonacci problem solving we run into.

ReplyDeleteThe why part is cool. Here's one approach I like:

Take all the blocks two lines above, and append a long one to the right, and then take all the blocks one line above, and append a short one to the right -- we've got two sets, all are the same length, but none are repeated. And we can't be missing any, unless we were missing some on the previous lines...

But there's tons more approaches.

Jonathan

Jonathan, that's lovely! Now I'm disappointed in myself, that I didn't play with this more before.

ReplyDeleteWill you tell us more about "Ghost the Bunny"?

There is a more or less standard argument (for example,

ReplyDeleteProofs that Really Countby Benjamin and Quinn.)Let F_n be the number of ways to combine 1×1 and 1×2 blocks into an 1×n arrangement.

Any such arrangement may end with either 1×1 or 1×2 block. There are F_(n-1) of the former kind and F_(n-2) of the latter kind.

Does the book come with solutions - cuz I would love for my kids to play with these - but honestly I don't "get" most of them. I am severely math challenged!!

ReplyDeleteSue, Does this book come with answers? Thank you.

ReplyDeleteI have the pdf version of the book with me on vacation, and it has what James Tanton calls "oh so brief solutions". I'm assuming the paper copy of the book has solutions also, but I can't check until I get home in 2 weeks.

ReplyDeleteIf anyone is still puzzled after looking at a solution, feel free to ask me or James Tanton himself.

I wonder if the book explains a very mysterious symbol it uses: = . I think If I didn't know what the equals sign means, I would be totally lost from the git-go.

ReplyDeleteI don't think it does. But those who don't know what = means are usually young enough that they're looking at the book with someone older, who explains simply.

ReplyDelete