Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another New Feature - KENKEN is Mind-Bending and Instructive!!


KENKEN® Puzzles

Invented by Japanese math teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, KENKEN® allows you to test your puzzle acumen and improve your math skills at the same time.
Exclusively on NYTimes.com, updated with 6 new puzzles daily.

This extraordinary new math-logic puzzle started appearing in the NYTimes about a month ago. Link here to start playing. I also placed a link in the sidebar so that you can play every day. It will take you a few minutes to catch on to the rules and then you will give up Sudoku, Kakuro, your daily crossword puzzle and Jumble! I just started playing and I'm hooked. Most importantly, it will reinforce and develop basic arithmetic skills for your students and/or children!

I also recommend that you read the Times article which introduced this new feature. The creator is a talented and unique math teacher. Here is some fascinating background from the article:

KenKen was invented in 2004 by the Japanese educator Tetsuya Miyamoto, who founded and teaches at the Miyamoto Math Classroom in Tokyo. Students attend his class on weekends to improve their math and thinking skills. Mr. Miyamoto said he believes in “the art of teaching without teaching.”

He provides the tools for students to learn at their own pace using their own trial-and-error methods. If these tools are engaging enough, he said, students are more motivated and learn better than they would through formal instruction.

About 90 minutes of class time each week is set aside for solving puzzles, usually designed by Mr. Miyamoto. The most popular one has been KenKen.

NOTE: The Math Problem of the Day for Wed 3-4-09 was deleted because I deemed that the context was inappropriate for younger readers who may visit. I'm assuming this was an aberration and this feature will resume shortly.

5 comments:

Pat B said...

Dave,
Knock it off with the cool puzzles man, I'm trying to work here...You think I have all day to play KenKen??? Ok, just one more game, but that's it....

Dave Marain said...

Pat,
I'll finish this reply just as soon as I...

Dave Marain said...

Ok, seriously, now...
The purpose of this blog is to provide resources and food for thought for educators. KenKen absolutely will reinforce arithmetic skills in a painless way that's actually fun. This Japanese teacher really must be something - I'd love to meet him.

This game also reminds me of Krypto or the Game of 24. Krypto is a card game which has been around for a long time. The object is to draw 5 number cards from a deck and, using some combination of the 4 basic operations make an expression equal to some target number. It was so popular at one time there were international competitions! Absolutely wonderful for teaching order of operations! Now if you're interested in the online version, just Google... Oops, sorry 'bout that! (I'll save it for my next new feature post).

mathmom said...

I am not even looking until I finish some work that *must* get done this week. ;-) I love Kakuro (and have brought them to school for my kids as well), so I imagine that I will certainly love KenKen enough that I should not look at it when I have work to do!

Professor Homunculus said...

Hi, I'm Brian, and I'm a KenKenaholic.

I've made some free video lessons about how to solve some pretty sadistic KenKen, for the similarly afflicted. (Does that make me an enabler?)

If you want to check out how to solve a 9x9 KenKen that has no operation signs, head out to The Math Mojo Chronicles/KenKenYou can add some comments and help solve it, too.

Brian (a.k.a. Professor Homunculus at MathMojo.com )