In several of my earlier blog posts, I've written about Sketchpad activities that present factors and multiples in puzzle form (see, for example, When Factoring Gets Personal). Now I'd like to introduce you to another puzzle of mine called Open the Safe that also focuses on factors and multiples. Below … Continue Reading ››

Algebra classes devote considerable time to equations in a single variable before solving multiple equations in two or more unknowns. But just because elementary-age students are not familiar with algebraic symbolism doesn't mean they can't solve simultaneous equations, too! The mathematician and educator W. W. Sawyer makes a compelling argument … Continue Reading ››

Arranging Addends is an interactive puzzle that I designed on a long bus ride through Alaska. The goal of the puzzle is to arrange the circles and the six numbers (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32) so that three conditions are met simultaneously: The sum of the numbers in the green circle is 21, … Continue Reading ››

In the 1970s, my childhood friend Tim owned an Activision console and a variety of game cartridges. Tim was the envy of our block, but no matter how much I enjoyed a rousing game of Pong, I knew that my electronic toy was even better. No, I didn't own the rival Atari game system: I … Continue Reading ››

Take a look at the interactive model below (and here). Most of the numbers in the array are shaded orange, but several are blue. What is special about these blue values? They are the factors of 32, the largest number in the array. Try dragging the red point to change the dimensions of the array. … Continue Reading ››

Take a look at the two groups of shapes below. Both groups contain an equilateral triangle and a square. Now imagine that you showed students each group and asked them to identify the shapes. Do you think students would do equally well in naming the shapes in group A and group B? Continue Reading ››