Calculate The Mean Median Fashion Mean And Mean Geometrica Can Sudoku Help Students With Math?

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Can Sudoku Help Students With Math?

Sudoku is a number puzzle that on the surface should be ideal for children to practice their math skills. Yes and no. Although students manipulate numbers to solve the puzzle, they do not need to add, subtract, multiply, or divide any of these numbers. So how does playing Sudoku help with math?

First, mathematics is more than arithmetic skills. Many of the skills needed to succeed in math go beyond arithmetic, and sometimes these skills are not practiced enough in school or at home. Some of these skills are in use when playing Sudoku. Let’s see.

These are some of the skills that Sudoku can help with:

Sorting. The challenge of Sudoku is to arrange the numbers 1 to 9 across each row and column of the grid, along with the same numbers in smaller 3 x 3 grids in the larger grid. No number can appear more than once along a row, column or 3 x 3 grid. While completing the puzzle, a student must sort, arrange, and rearrange these numbers. This requires a level of organization and concentration that has benefits beyond math.

Visualization. While new Sudoku players will write, erase and rewrite numbers as they solve the puzzle, the more skilled player can visualize an arrangement of numbers before writing anything down. Visualization is such an important skill in math. Whether it is visualizing a geometric transformation or the next step in solving an equation, this skill, so underrated, will give students a great deal of confidence when solving problems. Visualization is a higher order thinking ability.

Problem solving. A student completing a Sudoku puzzle has solved a fairly complex problem. The average Sudoku puzzle is far more complex than a typical arithmetic, algebra or geometry word problem. Although students may not believe this, most word problems focus on specific skills. Deciphering the text to get to the math concept is the same process as solving a puzzle. In addition, Sudoku encourages students to use these mathematical problem-solving strategies: guess and test, look for a pattern, solve a simpler problem, and use logical reasoning. Use Sudoku to improve these problem-solving skills in a low-stakes way.

By far the most important aspect of playing Sudoku is that students will have fun with numbers. This goes a long way towards eliminating math anxiety, or preventing it from ever taking hold. Developing a facility with numbers is a good stepping stone to working with abstract concepts such as variables and equations.

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