MAKE MATHEMATICS FUN: Engage students with brainteasers and puzzles


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No doubt about it, for many students, mathematics is scary. But it doesn’t have to be! One of the most effective ways to ease student fears is to incorporate brainteasers and puzzlers into your lesson mathematics lessons plans, allowing kids to logic out the answers in groups or on their own—without even realizing they’re doing mathematics.

Solving mathematics brainteasers and puzzles comes with numerous side benefits, as well—they help kids grasp diverse concepts, build fluency, develop strategic thinking, allow children to work at their own level, teach transferable skills, and can help with test preparation.

Consider working through the following three mathematics brainteasers and puzzlers with your class. (Shhhh. Answers at the bottom of the blog…)

  1. A factory produced 2300 TV sets in its first year of production. 4500 sets were produced in its second year and 500 more sets were produced in its third year than in its second year. How many TV sets were produced in three years?
  2. A company that frames houses gets paid in digital currency, called bitcoin. They charge 225 bitcoins for materials and 35 bitcoins per hour for labour. The total cost of building a home is 330 bitcoins. How many hours did it take the team of workers to frame the house?
  3. How many minutes are in one week?

As you review the solutions with your students, observe how each child worked through the problem. What can you learn about your students from their process?

For more brainteasers and puzzles, check out the Teachers Media International website where you’ll access the Mathematics hub featuring videos, articles, and hands-on activities to help with teaching and learning mathematics. Our “Lite” service is free.

Have a great weekend—and to our Canadian readers, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

~ The Teachers Media Team


Problem #1
Year 1 – 2,3oo TVs
Year 2 – 4,500 TVs
Year 3 – 4,500 + 500 = 5,000
In 3 years: 2,300 + 4,500 + 5,000 = 11,800 TVs

Problem #2
Set up the equation.  225 + 35(x) = 330.
Let x be the number of hours the labourers worked.
Solve the equation. Remember to keep the equation balanced, you must perform the same operation to both sides.
x = 3
The painter worked 3 hours
That makes sense, but it is always good to check your work. Start with the original equation.
225 + 35(x) = 330
Substitute 3 for x
225 + 35(3) = 330
225 + 105 = 330
330 = 330
You are correct.

Problem #3
Start small and work up.
There are 60 min in one hour.
There are 24 hours in one day.
There are 7 days in one week.
So —
1.) There would be (60 x 24) min in one day. 60 x 24 = 1,440 Thus, there are 1,440 min in one day.
2.) There are (1,440 x 7) min in one week. 1440 x 7=10,080. There are 10,080 min in one week.
That’s a lot of minutes! Ever wonder how many of those minutes you spent sleeping? Eating? Do the math!



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