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Friday, April 1, 2016

Everyday Math: Games and Logic Puzzles

Everyday Math: Math Games and Logic Puzzles

It is easy to recognize the benefits of physical exercise– muscles can grow, a number on a scale can shrink, and progress is measurable. However, there is another type of exercise that goes unrecognized. Although the brain is not a muscle, 'exercising' this organ can reap huge educational benefits. Studies show that stimulating your brain can help improve brain activity and help to prevent deterioration as the brain ages. Scientists say that the brain, like a muscle, can be trained to improve memory and problem solving. Now, you may be thinking, "Great, more homework...",  but using your brain doesn't have to be a mundane task. Infusing your day with some logic puzzles and games is a great way to both exercise your brain and add a little more math into your daily routine. Check out our favorites in this post. Challenge yourself to pick up a puzzle book instead of scrolling through your newsfeed during your down time!


We'll start with an easy one. Sudoku ranges in difficulty levels but this classic puzzle is probably the most common. Sudoku forms the basis for several other puzzle-type math and logic games.

A Sudoku board is pictured above. The grid is broken down into boxes, rows, and columns. There are also some numbers already filled in. The objective of the puzzle is to label each of the small boxes with a number 1-9. Doesn't sound too bad, right? The tricky part is that 1 number can't appear twice in a row, column, or box. In other words, each box must have one of each number (1-9). The same is true for the rows, as well as the columns. If one number is out of place, you may have to rearrange your entire board. Math may not be directly related, but the same problem solving capabilities and reason required for thinking through math problems will help you in Sudoku! Sharpen your pencil, because this is definitely not something to complete in pen!

Killer Sudoku

Don't let the name fool you! Killer Sudoku is just like Sudoku but with an added challenge. The game still follows the same rules as Sudoku– with one added twist. On the board below you will see dotted lines outlining various shapes. Some only have 2 boxes, while some have up to 7. You will also see small numbers inside those dotted boxes. These numbers represent the sum of the numbers within the dotted lines. Unlike regular Sudoku, there are no numbers already filled in for you, so your only hints are the sums. The higher level Killer Sudoku puzzles have higher numbers as the sums, creating more possible number combinations. Give it a try!


Similar to Sudoku and Killer Sudoku, Calcudoku follows the same basic directions. Instead of having to fill in the numbers according to sums, like in Killer Sudoku, Calcudoku provides a number and a certain mathematical operation. The numbers in the smaller boxes must compute to the number given, using the function noted. Again, no numbers are filled in before you begin, so the mathematical functions are the only hint you have! If you enjoy mental math, this is probably the twist on Sudoku you would enjoy the most! Below is an example with some numbers already filled in.

Bongard Problem

Bongard problems differ from the previously mentioned Sudoku puzzles. Have you ever played spot the difference in a children's magazine or book? Well Russian Scientist M.M Bogart created a similar game in 1967. Bongard problems are based on visual pattern recognition. There are 6 shapes or figures on the left, and six figures on the right. The six shapes on the left all share a common characteristic with each other or follow the same rule. The shapes on the right also share a common trait with each other, but something separates them from the shapes on the left. The game is to figure out what the difference is between the two sides. In other words, it's your job to find the rule that each side follows or does not follow. Check out the example below, a medium level problem.
Solution: The shapes on the left are convex, while the shapes on the right are concave.


  1. Thanks, nice article.

    Try these puzzles (except the Bongard problems) online at :)

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  4. If your kid is being affected by learning mathematical, it can be of big help to find innovative ways to show him the subject. Encouraging your kid to understand mathematical may start from finding mathematical actions and games that he would enjoy rather than pushing him to understand the typical way. daily crossword/a puzzle

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