At the last Tulsa Math Teachers' Circle I attended, I was introduced to a new number puzzle/game: Witzzle Pro. The name is a combination of "wit" and "puzzle": "witzzle".
We played several rounds of the game, and each winner got to take home a free copy of the game. I, sadly, did not win. But, I did fall in love with the game.
|Witzzle Pro Explanation|
The rules of the game are simple. Roll the number cubes to get a target number between -12 and 36. You must use three numbers and two operations to reach the target number. The three numbers must come from a single row, column, or diagonal on the card. First player to achieve the target number, specifying the correct order of operations wins.
For example, if the target number on the card above was 32, you could use the middle row (7 8 3) to achieve the target number. (7-3)*8 = 32.
You can also make negative numbers by subtracting a larger number from a smaller number. If your target number was -10, you could achieve it by using the left-hand column (5 7 2). 2 - 7 - 5 = -10.
Want to view a demo of this game? Click here.
I love this game for two reasons. Number one: it forces students to practice their integer operations. Number two: it forces students to consider the order of operations. A couple of days ago, I wrote a bit of a rant regarding integer operations and how I am refusing to teach them anymore. While I don't want to explicitly teach integer operations, I do want to provide opportunities for practice so I can work on correcting misconceptions.
The day after learning about this game, I tried playing it with my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students. Since I hadn't won a game at the MTC meeting, I pulled up a snapshot of a Witzzle Pro card that I found via a Google Image search. I set up my TI-84 to randomly generate integers from -12 to 36. After a short explanation of how the game worked, I put the card up on the screen and gave my students a target number.
The first student to find a solution shouts, "Witzzle!" They must come up to the board and correctly write a numerical expression using a row/column/diagonal of numbers from the card. Order of operations matters! After the student writes their solution, the class decides whether the written expression equals the target number as written.
Instead of me correcting mistakes, students were correcting other students' mistakes. It was awesome. The first student to correctly achieve the target number was given a LifeSavers mint. (I buy these in bulk!) A new random integer was generated, and the game continued. My students loved it! After playing 5-6 rounds, I was ready to move on to another activity I had planned. There was an absolute uproar from my students who had not yet won a piece of candy!
I like this game because it reviews mental math, order of operations, and integer operations without a worksheet. It's fun. It's fast-paced. It's challenging. Anybody can win. It forces you to think fast AND be able to justify your answer. Students are critiquing other students' work and offering constructive feedback. And, students are doing a crazy amount of math without even realizing it.
This is what I want integer and order of operation review to look like in my classroom next year. Next year, I want to dub Wednesdays as "Witzzle Wednesdays." I plan on displaying a card and setting a timer for five minutes. I will give students a target number. Every time that target number is achieved, that student wins a piece of candy. And, a new target number will be chosen. This process repeats until the timer goes off.
Now, I just need to come up with themes for the rest of the week. I remember reading on someone else's blog that they did "Mental Math Mondays." I'm definitely planning on stealing that. Maybe trivia on Tuesdays? And, "Tease Your Brain" Thursdays? Of course, I can't get rid of Friday Funnies or my students might just rebel.
If you're interested in using this game in your classroom, there are several options. Obviously, you can purchase the board game to use in class. There are also books of Daily Wittzle puzzles. See a sample pdf of one here.
|Daily Witzzle Fun|
Other pdf samples are available here and here.
There is also an online version called Witzzle Lite that you can play for free!
Apparently, some schools have their own Witzzle clubs or host Witzzle contests. How fun! Here's a free handbook that has been made available to schools.