Monday, December 12, 2011

A Gift for You

One Christmas long ago, I was maybe 9 or 10, my grandparents  gave me a subscription to Games Magazine. While I cannot give this magazine full credit for turning me on to math (so many contributions there), it did go above and beyond in its ability to feed my brain and satiate my thirst for challenging and entertaining puzzles. It still does. What I especially love about this magazine is that there are plenty of puzzles that I cannot solve... and still plenty that I can.

When I met my first 'Paint By Number' logic puzzle, I remember the wonderful satisfaction of incremental achievements. At first, it seemed so impossible, but bit by bit, the little squares got filled in. Each success led to another inspiration and slowly a picture emerged.

And I remember the first time I introduced these puzzles to my students - 14 year old minority algebra students stamped as 'underachievers'. Sure, there were some that took one look and walked away, but I was surprised by the ones that gave it a try, and amazed at their tenacity in pursuit of success. I can still picture Nestor at a desk in my empty classroom for an hour after school!

So, my gift to you is this snowflake puzzle... for yourself and your students. If you click on the image, you will be redirected to a site where you can download it for free. I created the puzzle using Griddlers Deluxe software that I downloaded online. You can find more puzzles there and also make your own. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!