Inspiration from the Twitterverse #2

I have bookmarked many things since August 17th…. many, many, things. Here are a few of my favourites from the last few weeks of August:

First, a reminder from @mpershan about Erich Friedman’s wonderful puzzles.

Next, @rmbyrne teaches how you can make shortened url’s that people can actually spell.

@JessicaTilli1 is very excited about Ultimate Tic Tac Toe highlighted in @benorlin’s Math with Bad Drawings. I know the game and have blogged about it before, but I think I need to explore his book!

Dan Finkel talks about his new TED-Ed riddle called “The Superconductor Lab”. How can you not love TED-Ed puzzles?

@TedTalks wants you to go watch some of Hans Roslings Ted Talks. I have seen a few, but I should watch the rest.

@EfrenR creates lab instructions using @ChemixLab diagrams, Google Drive, and Screencastify….with a little help from @JakeMillerTech.


Pip – Mathematics shows the strength of Da Vinci bridges:

Apparently PhET sims works with Google Classroom. Is this new? How did I miss it?

And finally, if you liked music from the 80’s then read Toto’s lyrics for “Africa” as written in the style of Ernest Hemingway. I loved this. Thank you Simon Kuestenmacher.

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Thinkfun, the company behind the famous Rush Hour game, has a section on their website for educators. Head over to the Downloadable Games section for a selection of strategy games, brainteasers, and dice games in both colour and black and white versions. They also provide some resources to supplement the Rush Hour game as well as to allow students to play with a paper version of the game. Check out the Group Games and Activities section and look through the Big Games downloads for some larger group activities.

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Cleave Books Resource Pages


Last year I came upon (or was led to…I can’t remember) a website called Cleave Books. It is a little bit of a hodgepodge, but it has some interesting math resources. The Teacher Resources Online page brings you to a variety of template makers and information sheets. Here you will find templates for grid paper, number lines, digits of Pi, codes and ciphers, searches and cross sums, formula sheets and more, as well as practice booklets and other random activities. The Specialist Calculators Online page is basically what is says, a variety of calculators where each is devoted to a specific task. I like the Calendar Models page where you can create a yearly 3D calendar in varying forms. There is also a Pages of Puzzles section which houses generic problem solving puzzles as well as tangrams, pentominoes, dissection puzzles, and sliding block puzzles. The final area on this website that I will highlight it the MisMaths page. Here you will find math mistakes and misconceptions – could be good for same daily starters.

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Bridge Baffler

Last week I showed a picture of four puzzle books that I have at home. I had gone through them and marked down the puzzles that I liked. Today I created a version of one of the puzzles to use in the classroom. The puzzle is called Bridge Baffler and it is from the Puzzle Play book. Apparently it is a modeled after an older puzzle, but I could not find any sources online. I didn’t love how it looked after I scanned it from the book, and so I decided to make my own version. The basic goal of the puzzle is to use two planks of wood to allow someone or something that is stuck on a rectangular island to make it off of the island and onto the surrounding land. The catch is that the two planks of wood are identical in size, and both are shorter than the span between the island and the surrounding land. For an easier challenge, students can use the two planks as manipulatives. To make it harder, students can attempt the challenge without the plank manipulatives. You can access the puzzle here.

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Designing a Puzzle Bulletin Board

Most of my bulletin board space is inside of my science lab, but I have a bulletin board that is in the hallway just outside of the science lab. Last year I taught all of middle school science as well as grade 8 math, and I used this bulletin board for math puzzles. I put the puzzle in the centre of the board and underneath I added a folder where students could put their solutions. When it was time for a new puzzle in the centre, I removed the old puzzle and put it either on the right or left side of the new one. I included the answer to the old puzzle and highlighted any correct solutions that students had given. Eventually the board around the centre puzzle got filled with old puzzles and solutions, and it was then that I emptied the board and started fresh.

When I originally designed the bulletin board, I had thought that only middle school students would take interest. However, there was a grade 4 classroom right beside mine, and I was pleasantly surprised to see those students hovering around my puzzle board on a regular basis. They liked the challenge of the harder problems, and I think they ended up attempting solutions more often than my own students. See my puzzle website list for inspiration of what to put on your own bulletin board.

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Puzzles Galore

Yesterday I said that I would share puzzle sites that I have accumulated over time. I have blogged about this in the past, but here is an updated list of my go-to sites when I am searching for something fun:

A+ Click Math and Logic Problems

Brain Bashers


Conceptis Puzzles

Cut the Knot

Erich’s Puzzle Palace

Gordon Burgin’s Puzzles

Krazy Dad

Mathematical Thinking

Math Pickle

Math Playground

Maths Puzzles

Peter Frank

Plus Magazine

Printable Puzzles

Puzzle Baron’s Logic Puzzles


Puzzle Choice


Puzzlers Paradise

Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection

Terry Stickels

The Problem Site

Tree Knox



And here is one site to make your own puzzles:



I am sure that there are many other great sites that are not on the list. Please send me your favourites.

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Puzzles Here, Puzzles There, Puzzles Puzzles Everywhere

I have been reading about Sarah Carter’s puzzle table and I love the idea. She has four posts where she talks about the types of puzzles that she uses, and you can read them here and here and here and here. I am not sure if I have anywhere to set up a table for this and I may have to modify the idea, but I still went ahead and ordered the Puzzle Box books that she mentioned from Amazon. I can’t wait for them to arrive!

In her Puzzle Table: Weeks 7-9 post she wrote about the H and T puzzles which I have seen before. She got them from a website called Puzzles.ca. I think I may have some hard copies of these puzzles in my classroom at school, but I wanted a digital copy and so I started searching online. I didn’t find them on that site, but I did find them on the Puzzle Playground website which has both the H and T puzzles, along with an M puzzle. You can access them here. I know that I also have the F puzzle at school and was looking for a digital copy of that one, as well. Puzzle Playground doesn’t have a copy, but Math is Fun has a version which you can access here. You should also check out the Puzzle Playground Manipulative Puzzles section for some other great options.

In her Puzzle Table: Weeks 1-6 post she mentioned the Four Aces puzzle which she also got from Puzzles.ca. I also could not find this puzzle there nor anywhere else that I searched online. I went back to the Puzzles.ca website and contacted the website designer and requested a copy. He kindly sent me the pdf of the puzzle and gave me permission to share it here. He also said that other DIY puzzles (manipulative puzzles) will eventually return to his website. Puzzles.ca also has a variety of other puzzles and games which you can either play online or print, including Mathdoku.

I have also scoured through some of my other resource books and have found a few puzzles that I like from the following books:

I have many more online puzzle sites to search through and I should have quite the collection by the time I am done. I will share those links another day.

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Math Games

I have previously written about Hot Seat, which is a game I sometimes use to review before math tests. For some quick, non-content related games, I sometimes use some of the following sites:

Math Playground – There are some content based games for lower grades, but I like the Logic Games section of the website.

Terry Stickels – Terry has written many puzzle books, but there are also an assortment of puzzles on his website.

Pencil ‘n Paper Puzzles – There are a wide variety of puzzles on this site … love this site.

Erich’s Puzzle Palace – Another good site with a wide variety of puzzles.

KrazyDad – This is my favourite site for printable Sudoku’s, Kakuro’s, and other similar games.

Have fun playing!

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Begin the year with math.

I have three math websites to share before school begins again next week.

The first, Mr. P’s Math Page, is suggested based on the Puzzles & Games page.  Explore the other pages as you wish, but make sure to spend some time looking through the variety of puzzles and games that he has shared in this section. The other real treasure on this website is the Problem of the Month archive.

Next, visit the Number Loving Resources site. There are a multitude of games to be found here, searchable by strand, topic, or UK Key Stage Levels. When you are finished there, head over to the Number Loving Blog to find great teaching ideas.

Finally, Mr. Barton’s Maths has a slew of worthwhile resources. You can wander over to the Just for Fun or explore his blog, but I have spent the most time on the Teachers page. While there, be sure to look through the Teaching Resources and then wander over to the Tarsia Jigsaw Bundle.

Have a fabulous new year.


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