Play with Math!
The concept of play is often limited to younger students and less academic endeavors, but play can be a useful strategy in an unlikely discipline: Math!
Mathematics is known as logical and rigorous, but the subject doesn’t get enough credit for its true mischievous spirit, which is well-hidden from the world.
Play moves math instruction beyond rote memorization to a more expansive understanding of mathematics. Creating a sense of curiosity, even for simple concepts, engages students in a playful way and helps students develop numeracy sense!
Math is full of surprises that can be interesting and fun. There is no single path or strategy to the solution in many problems. Be receptive to surprises in how your kids think about and solve problems. An openness to the unexpected can foster a culture of playful curiosity. A playful mathematics learner is hopeful and optimistic—elements of a mindset that helps students improve their understanding of complex concepts.
Embrace the mess of the problem-solving process. Thinking is messy. We don’t always get things right the first time. Corrections, revisions, and even total transformations of the math are sometimes necessary.
Using puzzles, like the one here, creates space for students to play with more abstract concepts and ideas. The freedom of a playful environment creates opportunities for deeper engagement.
How did you solve the puzzle? Can you find a different solution?
Can you tell someone else how to solve it?
Let us know how you solved the puzzle!