As we enjoy the holidays, it’s a great time to reflect on the learning of math in more fun and festive ways. I find holiday-themed puzzles and riddles can often help us do this, as well as facilitate some of the mathematical thinking that we would like our students to demonstrate.
The most popular math puzzles are the ones where students have to figure out the total number of festive objects using some algebra. What I like about these questions is that the difficulty can vary and any problem can be made accessible.
The puzzle above is one that can be done by many elementary students, and the solution easily cascades down.
Here is another one. Again, fairly straightforward, but this time there are other operations, and students have to start with the equation that is most accessible and yields the answer for the first object (the Christmas tree).
Here is another one that gets them thinking algebraically.
Happy puzzling and have a safe and joyous holiday!