In preparation for my NQT year I will inevitably be looking for new ideas and resources that I can use in class.
Today I found a forum post on the TES asking if anybody used things like tangrams, sudokus etc to give students when they had finished work, needed some extension, or just wanted an extra maths puzzle to do. One of the replies on the post gave a link to a few websites which contain useful puzzles to download, print and have spare for such occassions.
The 1st of these I looked at was the 'KenKen' puzzles. Now, I had seen these before but never really took the time to understand what it was you had to do.
A KenKen puzzle is a square grid, lets say 3x3 or 4x4, where there are a number of gates (gates are the combination of squares made up in the grid [outlined in bold below]) In each gate there is a target number and an operation in the top-left. This tells you what operation you need to use in order to get the target number from the numbers you will then place in the squares in that gate. The idea of the KenKen puzzle is to place the numbers in the grid so that no row or column have the same number in it. So, for a 4x4 grid, each row and column would have the numbers 1,2,3 and 4. For a 3x3 grid, each row and column would have the numbers 1,2 and 3 etc.
These puzzles are great for getting students to practise the basic operations and in improving their problem solving skills.
Here's the website where you can either do them online or print them off. You can even sign up to a free classroom KenKen resource where you'll be sent a pdf of KenKen puzzles. I have done this and it was extremely straight forward and I had an e-mail in my inbox in seconds of signing up!
and an example pic...