Mathematical puzzle

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Mathematical puzzles make up an integral part of recreational mathematics. They have specific rules, but they do not usually involve competition between two or more players. Instead, to solve such a puzzle, the solver must find a solution that satisfies the given conditions. Mathematical puzzles require mathematics to solve them. Logic puzzles are a common type of mathematical puzzle.

Conway's Game of Life and fractals, as two examples, may also be considered mathematical puzzles even though the solver interacts with them only at the beginning by providing a set of initial conditions. After these conditions are set, the rules of the puzzle determine all subsequent changes and moves. Many of the puzzles are well known because they were discussed by Martin Gardner in his "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American. Mathematical puzzles are sometimes used to motivate students in teaching elementary school math problem solving techniques.[1] Creative thinking – or "thinking outside the box" – often helps to find the solution.

List of mathematical puzzles[edit]

This list is not complete.

Numbers, arithmetic, and algebra[edit]


Analytical or differential[edit]


Tiling, packing, and dissection[edit]

Involves a board[edit]

Chessboard tasks[edit]

Topology, knots, graph theory[edit]

The fields of knot theory and topology, especially their non-intuitive conclusions, are often seen as a part of recreational mathematics.


0-player puzzles[edit]


  1. ^ Kulkarni, D. Enjoying Math: Learning Problem Solving With KenKen Puzzles Archived 2013-08-01 at the Wayback Machine, A textbook for teaching with KenKen Puzzles.

External links[edit]