Math = Love: Volume 2: Japanese Logic Puzzles for the Secondary Math Classroom

Friday, August 5, 2016

Volume 2: Japanese Logic Puzzles for the Secondary Math Classroom

This is a continuation of a blog series about logic puzzles created by Naoki Inaba (creator of the area maze puzzle I blogged about here) that can be used in the secondary math classroom.  Actually, I see lots of applications to the elementary math classroom in today's set of puzzles, too.  Volume 1 of the puzzles can be found here.

Naoki Inaba has published hundreds of logic puzzles for free on his website,  Of course, all of the puzzles are published in Japanese.  This is my attempt to make them more accessible to math teachers because they show potential for great applications in the math classroom.

I don't know Japanese, but I adore logic puzzles.  I especially love logic puzzles that have math-y applications and roots.  These definitely do.  You'll have to excuse my most likely poor translations.  If you see something I missed, please lave a comment!

Here are the rules:

1.  I'll post a picture of a puzzle and the solution.  The instructions are in Japanese.
2.  Determine the goal of the puzzle.
3.  Figure out how you could use it in your math classroom.
4.  Scroll down and see if your thoughts match mine!  

(Puzzles 1-3 are found in Volume 1.)

Puzzle 4:

Inaba calls this puzzle "B-Cross." Google Translate translates the Japanese as "Multiple Cross."


From what I can tell, this is a puzzle to practice factors and multiples.  8 is a factor of 96.  3 is a factor of 9.  13 is a factor of 65.

This PDF file contains 42 of these puzzles.  The puzzles range from having 2-4 cells to fill in.  Solutions are found here.

These would be great in any unit that deals with factors or multiples.  You could also easily put up one of these as a do-now.

Puzzle 5:

Inaba calls these "Blink" puzzles. Google Translate changes the Japanese to "Multiple Link."

Image Source:
This is another puzzle that deals with factors and multiples.  5 points to both 10 and 20 in the solution, and 5 is a factor of both 10 and 20.  4 points to 20, and 4 is a factor of 20.  The numbers you can choose from to put in each box are listed below.  The number that has already been placed in the puzzle has a check mark above it.

This PDF file has 42 of these puzzles to solve.  Here are solutions, too.

Like pretty much all of the puzzles on this page, this would make a great warm-up or brain break.

Puzzle 6:

Inaba calls this puzzle "Mizu."  Google Translates changes the Japanese to "water so to water."  Yeah...

Image Source:
These are fraction puzzles, and I ADORE them!  Seriously, I printed them off and work through all but the last page of them with a pink highlighter.  Each small box counts as a single unit, 1.  The arrows on the left tell you that the fractions in the top row and the bottom row should both add up to 1.  The 5/6 on the top tells you that the fractions in the right column should add up to 5/6.  Water is contained inside each set of thick black lines.

This PDF file contains 42 of these puzzles.  And, here are solutions.  Now that I'm looking at the solutions file, I realize that the last page of puzzles wasn't as scary as I made it out to be.  So, if you do the puzzles yourself, do yourself a favor and take a peek at how the solutions write up the last page before you drive yourself insane trying to do them the way you did all the previous pages.

These would make a perfect review of fractions.  I found myself making a lot of equivalent fractions as I was solving these myself.  I also had to do lots of fraction addition and subtraction in my head.

Come back tomorrow for the next installment of puzzles.  Think of a way you could incorporate one of these in your classroom?  Leave a comment below!

1 comment:

  1. Again, only based on my Japanese knowledge...
    Google Translate actually gets very close to correct on "water so to water" except that what it translates as "so" is the Japanese word "sou" which actually changes the first "water" ("mizu") to mean something like "seeming like water" or "intending to be water."