Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Continuing with our look at number puzzles in observance of National Brain Training Week (June 11-17, 2011) today we look at Sudoku, the number puzzle that quickly went from something no one had every heard of, let along pronounce, to becoming a global phenomenon. The traditional 9 x 9 grid Sudoku is easily adaptable for a range of age and ability levels. Books such as Will Shortz Presents the Monster Book of Sudoku for Kids: 150 Fun Puzzles begin with a short introductory lesson on solving Sudoku and entry level 4 x 4 grid puzzles before advancing to 6 x 6 then the traditional 9 x 9 grid puzzles.

In Sudoku Puzzles for Kids, author Michael Rios also modifies puzzles for children by only using the digits 1 - 6 in his puzzles rather than the typical 1 - 9.

Sudoku is accessible to even the youngest students with puzzles like those found in Kindergarten Sudoku by Peter Kattan and Sudoku Puzzles For Children Ages 4-8: Every Child Can Do It. For Kids At Home or At School by Jonathan Bloom.

Teaching Tip
Carol A. Buckley describes a clever use of Sudoko in her November 2008 article, "Using Sudoku Bulletin Boards to Teach Mathematical Reasoning." Just as you can surmise from the article title, Buckley's idea is to create an interactive Sudoku as a bulletin board display. Using an enlarged 9 x 9 grid made of poster board mounted on a cloth covered classroom bulletin board, Buckley staples digit cards in the appropriate squares to replicate the given numbers of a puzzle she has selected from resources such as the books listed above. Velcro tabs are placed in the open spaces. Students use digit cards, with Velcro tabs on the reverse side, that Buckley makes available in an envelope positioned beside the grid. Throughout the day students can work individually or collaboratively to solve the puzzle. Once a puzzle is completed, Buckley can easily replace it with a new puzzle.

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