Recreational Math #RecreationalMath

Many years ago I taught at a school in which Sustained Silent Reading was a daily occurrence in an effort to develop in the students a love for reading. For 15 minutes each day, students read a book of their choosing. Afterwards we often spent an additional 5 minutes or so discussing what they were reading. I remember Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Giver being particular favorites at the time. An essential part of SSR was that teachers were also expected to model a love of recreational reading.

We have long known the benefits of recreational reading: improved comprehension, language, vocabulary development, general knowledge, empathy, as well as self-confidence in reading, motivation to read throughout one’s life, and positive attitudes toward reading. Because of these benefits, teachers were willing to spend 15 minutes a day role modeling to their students a love of reading…even if that “love” was a little bit forced.

But then there is MATH.

Just like reading, there are numerous benefits of recreational math: increases motivation, independence, enjoyment, and improves problem-solving skills. Recreational math is any puzzle, game, or activity that requires math to solve but are not the typical “learn the formula and apply” problems. Recreational math provokes a sense of exploration, wonder, and a willingness to grapple with unfamiliar and unique problems.

But just as teachers are expected to model recreational reading to their students, then we must also be prepared to model recreational math. We need to show students the joy of solving a problem, not for a grade, but for the sheer joy of the experience itself.

We cannot expect students to engage in recreational math until we first incorporate it into our own lives!

Some samples of Recreational Math…




Here is a Twitter search that will give you plenty of #RecreationalMath problems for you to choose from. Try solving a problem. If you are enjoying that problem, keep struggling until you solve it. If you don’t enjoy that problem, find a different problem to try!

Here is another Twitter search for #Puzzles and #Math…

Give #RecreationalMath a try!