Three places to find fun and interesting math problems

Giving students some clever math problems related to a “real world” situation or topic can go a long way in helping them see how math skills are skills that they will use for a lifetime. The following three websites all offer good math challenges to use with your students.

What would you rather do? is a website maintained by John Stevens for the purpose of sharing quick and fun math challenges for students. What would you rather do? presents a picture with a math problem that asks “would you rather?” Most questions have a financial aspect. One of my favorite examples is this challenge who asks “would you rather go shopping for 5 minutes at the store of your choice or get a $2,000 gift card to the store of your choice?” What would you rather do? provides a simple worksheet that your students can use to analyze the choices presented to them in the challenges.

Math Pickle is a free site that offers dozens of fun and challenging math puzzles for students of all ages. The puzzles are designed to solve problems together over the course of 45 to 60 minutes. Almost all puzzles are presented as a series of small, connected problems that students must solve to complete the puzzle. The puzzles can be viewed as slides and or downloaded as PDFs.

Expi Solve is a set of seventy sets of word problems. Within each set, there are five problems aligned with a theme. For example, the most recent problem concerns cell phones and the distance radio waves can carry. The problems within each set on Expi Solve vary in difficulty so you can choose the one that best suits your students. Or you can register your students on the site and choose the problems they want to tackle. In fact, that’s how the site is meant to be used. Students can get instant feedback on their answers to the problems they are trying to solve. Students who need a little help solving a problem can use the hints and tutorials at the bottom of each problem page.

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