Puzzles and Games are a great way to build enthusiasm, excitement, and skills in a math classroom. When these are used properly, there is always an underlying mathematical theme that is being explored or reinforced. Students learn the value of logical thinking, proper planning, and long-term focus.
Many of these puzzles build spatial sense and geometrical visualization and allow students to create conceptual models. Research says that problem solving abilities increase when students gain spatial reasoning skills, and doing so in such a creative way brings joy to the students and the classroom.
Mathematical games can develop a lot of creativity and number sense in students. Many times a game or puzzle at first looks overwhelming, but becomes manageable after focusing on the key concept. Motivation is almost always inherent in a game or puzzle; this creates conceptual emotion which is a key to successful learning.
Opportunities for transitioning from number sense to algebra thinking abound with puzzles. Number properties show their strength in supporting algebra throughout puzzle activities. It’s always a pleasure to watch the enthusiasm and skills grow in students!
Here are some links to puzzles and games Mr. L has used:
Digit Puzzles–Using Number Sense Strategies to Foster Algebraic Thinking for All Students