When children are young, we teach them to recognize sequences, shapes, and patterns as prerequisites to math - important skills to build upon. This book from The Critical Thinking Company incorporates some fun puzzles to work with children from the fifth to seventh grade level to get them thinking about math functions. Five different types of puzzles make the math exploration challenging - Pattern Predictor, Equality Explorer, Sequence Sleuth, Number Ninja, and Function Finder. There are eight of each type for a total of 40 puzzles that become progressively more difficult. Pattern Predictor asks the student to look at a pattern of shapes and predict where the pattern will be in future stages. Equality Explorer is like Balance Benders (also by CTP) where the student sees a series of balances with shapes on one side and a number on the other - the student has to figure out the value of each shape in order to equal the number on the other side (balancing equations). Sequence Sleuth shows a sequence of patterns, objects, letters, etc., and asks a series of questions in which the student is to determine future stages in the sequence based upon what they can already see. Number Ninja lays out a series of operations and tells you a starting or ending number. Based on the operations you have to determine the missing start or finish number. The fifth type of puzzle is the Function Finder in which the student is to determine what functions are being employed given the example presented - look for a pattern and understand it. An example of this last puzzle would be 6?¢¦7=43; 8?¢¦3=25; 9?¢¦10=91; 2?¢¦5=11. Based on the mystery function offered here, what would the answers be to 5?¢¦9 and 16?¢¦3? The mystery functions would be multiply and add one. So the answers would be 46 and 49, consecutively.
There is now a Level 2 of the Pattern Explorer books. Intended for junior high/high school, this second book adds the use of variables. Otherwise, you will find the same types of puzzles as those found in Level 1. No prior knowledge of Algebra is required to do level 2.
Hints for solving the puzzles and solutions are offered at the back of the book. These are very
helpful when you get stuck.
This book is rated for 5th - 7th grade, but I feel the number-brain exercises in these puzzles would be good for even high school and adults. I have completely enjoyed working the puzzles in this book. This book is reproducible for classroom and family use. ~ Donna