Review: http://www.scottkim.com is the web site of puzzle master Scott Kim, of El Granada, California. Scott, a puzzle designer since early in his life, includes helpful and informative theory and educational philosophy as well as countless resources, links and reprints of his articles and columns for magazines such as Discovery. With a variety of online games and puzzles, a store, and a teachers section, its well worth the virtual trip!
Games and puzzles can build understanding of fairly straightforward arithmetic concepts and also of complex understandings of ecosystem dynamics. Games most worthy of our attention as educators are able to engage students in thoughtful learning tasks that go beyond just rote recall and rapid-response activities.
How can we help our students to develop those important skills with numbers and computation, without boring them with drillnkill worksheets? One answer is magic squares. The construction and analysis of magic squares provides practice in mental arithmetic, operations with numbers, geometry, and measurement, and encourages logical reasoning and creativity, all in a game-like setting. Each student can proceed at his or her own pace. Best of all, the students correct their own work; finding errors is part of the process.