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### Sudoku's Just the Start: Games to Improve Math Sense

Most of us know sudoku, a sort of mathematical crosswords puzzle that has a goal of arranging numbers in a 9 x 9 grid so that each row, column, and 3x sub grid each contain a number 1 through 9. However, many of us have not heard of ken-ken, kakuro, hidato, or futoshika.

Playing these games is often done by adults with the goal of maintaining mental acuity. However, if played by children, these games may be able to help develop thinking skills that will help in mathematical ability. Perhaps most importantly, pen and paper math games are educational tools that doesn't feel like homework – so students may be self-motivated to complete the game. For the skeptical, take a look at this 2011 study from the Journal of Mathematics Education which outlines how to incorporate sudoku in math education with the Common Core State Standards in mind.

A great classroom activity could involve students independently working on one of these puzzles at the beginning of class, or as a supplementary homework assignment. Alternately, it can be a useful activity for students to help fight summer slide.

Scholastic offers a variety of educational resources based around pen and paper math games. Super Suduko Math: Fractions and Decimals offers reproducible worksheets focusing on suduko with the goal of teaching fractions and decimals. Super Suduko Math also makes a multiplication and division version, as well as an addition and subtraction version.

Have you used sudoku or other pen and paper based math games as a supplement in primary math instruction? Do you feel that this is an effective tool for increasing math and number sense?

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The Math Hub is a place for  sharing  expertise on math education and the use of adaptive technology to increase student achievement. We invite you to enhance our conversation by submitting your own comments.

Bloggers are compensated by Scholastic. The opinions expressed by the authors on this blog should not be taken to reflect the opinions of Scholastic or Tom Snyder Productions.

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