More Lovely Puzzles!

A consistently popular post on this blog is ‘Lovely Puzzles‘ which has links to many puzzle sites which include mathematical puzzles. This seems a good time of year to investigate some of these further. A good puzzle for Christmas Eve perhaps (or any day!) would be ‘Make 24’.

Make 24 (1)

Can you make 24? You must use all the numbers once and you are allowed the four operations and brackets.
(Further information and solutions for Make 24 and other Number puzzles are listed on the Number page on Mathematics Games). Number puzzles like this can make excellent starters.

Other possibilities for puzzle-type lesson starters come from Erich Friedman who has a variety of Mathematical Puzzles; try his Weird Calculator Puzzles for example or these Number Formation Puzzles both of which would make ideal ‘Bell Work‘.

Untangle - Simon Tatham
Another great collection comes from Simon Tatham, I have been enjoying his ‘Untangle’ puzzles (which I must remember for the next time I teach Graphs in Decision Mathematics!); it is possible to change the number of nodes – use the Type menu.

Whilst many teachers use Suduko and Kenken type puzzles (note that teachers can sign up to receive free weekly KenKen puzzles), perhaps less familiar is Rogo which is very easy to learn.

This post has taken some considerable time to write as I have been very happily distracted by all these lovely puzzles – including joining the dots (from Conceptis Puzzles) something I used to love doing as a child!

Busy marking!

It’s been a busy weekend marking mock examination papers!

So this week I thought I would simply highlight some resources I have mentioned on my other blogs and mention a couple of recent discoveries.

Have you tried Rogo? This easy to learn puzzle could make a good starter / settler activity.


On the Starters blog I have included Jonathan Hall’s excellent Flash Maths site. Jonathan links to the most popular starters here.

On Mathematics for Students I recently linked to some Polar Coordinates resources at the request of my Year 13 Further Mathematics students.


I recently wrote about Jeffrey Ventrella’s rather beautiful composite number tree. Another excellent visualization comes from Data Pointed. I discovered both of these thanks to Twitter.

Other recent discoveries include the ability to graph Maclaurin series with the outstanding Desmos graphing calculator and Symbolab with which you can search for scientific equations.

I’ll finish with a TES resource shout out, I shall be trying Craig Barton’s rather nice little starter on algebraic misconceptions on Tuesday with Year 8!
(More TES Maths resources).

Why Twitter?

Why would a teacher want to use Twitter?

Because just a few minutes spent on Twitter can be very productive. Take this tweet from Craig Barton on an excellent resource – perfect for my Year 11 students revising for their GCSE module in the summer.

Being very selective in who you follow allows you to connect with teachers and other educators beyond your own institution.

Resources I discovered through my early investigations of Twitter –  included Maths posters to download. 

I was also interested to see that teachers on Twitter have shared teaching tips and ideas; see the #movemenon book, from Doug Belshaw (the pdf is free to download).

Some further examples:  Mathscareers Website,   Wolfram Fun Facts  and Mathslinks

For a quick way to find Mathematics related tweets do a search on the hashtag #mathchat.

For learning to use Twitter see Russell Stannard’s training videos and some Twitter bookmarksnote the very clear Twitter Lingo guide from Mashable.

See other posts featuring Twitter and Mathematics Conversations.

So why do I use Twitter (and Diigo and belong to various teaching communities and..)?
For the reasons so well explained by Sacha Chua in her ‘Teacher’s Guide to Web 2.0 at School’.


Tarsia Puzzles

With the free Formulator Tarsia software from Hermitech Laboratory, (you can download the software and see more information by following the link) it is possible to create Tarsia puzzle types

puzzles of various types. These work well with students of any age. Most of the published resources seem to be for students age 11 to 18 but as it is possible to create puzzles, teachers of younger students could create puzzles suitable for their classes.

Note that as well as downloading the application it is possible to download selections of puzzles from Craig Barton and from Bryan Dye. Craig also has a section of his website devoted to Tarsia – note all the ideas here for using Tarsia in the classroom.

TES Resources host an extensive collection of Tarsia Puzzles. Note that the search can be narrowed to Mathematics and further to your chosen age range, eg Post 16