Over the last ten years, Deepak Kulkarni of the Intelligent Systems Division has taught creative math problem solving methods to students over the weekends in his spare time. He has designed a set of lesson plans based on KenKen puzzles that help students learn a wide range of math lessons while enjoying the learning process. NexToy’s KenKen puzzle is a new mathematical puzzle that New York Times called “the most addictive puzzle since Sudoku.” Kulkarni’s lessons have been very effective in improving math problem-solving skills and his students have included top scorers in national math competitions. These lesson plans are now being published by Recreational Math Publications as a book titled Enjoying Math: Learning Problem Solving with KenKen Puzzles. Prof Reiter, former chair of national AMC10 and AMC12 competitions, called the book “the ideal bridge from the solving of elementary puzzles to algebra” in recognizing the value of book to teachers trying to motivate middle school students to study algebra.

BACKGROUND: A critical challenge in improving the quality of mathematics education is in motivating students to take interest in studies in the presence of easy availability of alternate recreational activities that are perceived as enjoyable. Recreational mathematics identifies math activities including puzzles that can be enjoyed by adults and children. The Sudoku puzzle is a very good example of this. At present, such puzzles have a very limited role in classrooms because there are only a small number of math lessons that can be taught with these puzzles.

Contact: Deepak Kulkarni