Thursday, October 27, 2011

Curriculum Resource: Greg Tang Math Puzzles

Yesterday, Maria Droujkova of Natural Math had a web seminar with Greg Tang, the author of math poetry/puzzle books such as The Grapes of Math,  Math-terpieces:  The Art of Problem Solving, and other similar books.  His books are really geared towards elementary students, mostly the 6-10 year old crowd, I believe.  So while my son had enjoyed reading his books when he was younger, I hadn't really thought about Greg Tang for several years now.

But I tuned into the webinar, and discovered that Tang now has a website with some resources that I think are appropriate for middle schoolers.  It appears that lately Tang has spent less time writing and more time programming some of the games and puzzles into interactive exercises on his website (which is apparently about to be taken over by Scholastic, which is also the publisher of his books).

The games on there, so far, at least, still focus on mastering basic mathematical computational skills.  However, I know my son can still use some work on recalling those math facts quickly and accurately.  But they are fun games, even though they based on simple mathematics.  Some of them are kind of like Sudoku, where you have to figure out the right selections of numbers, but you have to add, subtract, multiply, or divide to choose the right one.   I found them kind of fun and interesting to do as an adult, but my son enjoyed doing them as well.

Our favorite was a game called Kakooma, in which you are given a series of hexagons with six numbers in them, and you have to figure out which number can be created by adding, subtracting, or multiplying two of the other numbers in the hexagon.  So it doesn't require a math savant, but you are racing against the clock and other players, a bunch of whom have figured out all seven problems in a set in less than 10 SECONDS!  Unbelievable!

Anyway, if you buy a subscription, all the games have a bunch of different levels to make the game harder or easier, but there is a free version of each game that has been challenging enough for us so far.

So if your family likes math puzzles, or if you are just looking for a fun way to practice some basic computational skills, check out

If you are interesting in finding out more about how Greg Tang develops the math books, games, and other materials he creates, you can access a recording of the entire webinar at: .

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