TO BUILD MATHEMATICAL POWER
ITS 3RD PRINTING!
always excited to teach the lessons
and to elicit the 'wow' of math.”
put the "wow!" in your math lessons and meet
the challenge of rigorous new standards with high-interest,
kid-tested RiddleMath. Once they have solved
the student-written riddles in the book, children create riddles
for their classmates to solve — and that's when the real
"A wonderful resource for teachers and parents."
Unlike some cutesy puzzle-based programs, RiddleMath goes
beyond routine computation and requires serious thinking from students,
as they model their solutions with a variety of hands-on materials.
The riddles cover a range of difficulty appropriate for children
at 2nd through 5th-grade levels. Supporting the 100 blackline masters
is a classroom-tested, teacher-friendly guide.
mathematics content, sound instructional methodology,
and highly engaging. Effectively models the NCTM Standards. . ."
If you love helping children make sense of math, this
fresh, innovative approach is just what you're looking for!
". . . The perfect activity for integrating mathematics
with language arts skills! Reading, vocabulary, basic math,
mathematical reasoning, and writing skills are finely tuned as students
work together to create original riddles. Even the most reluctant
students are motivated to produce a quality riddle. . ."
— Joyce Nelson, Ed. D., Math Specialist, Suwanee, Georgia
"This book captures the interest of all students
because they like being math detectives. The riddles require the children
to process the information at a critical thinking level. Mr. Sherrill
provides guidelines so that the children may go on to make their own
riddles to share with each other. How pleased they are when they can
stump their classmates. I am delighted with the integration of skills.
. . A wonderful resource for teachers and parents."
— Pam Lobenhofer, Math Resource Teacher, Arlington Heights,
"RiddleMath provides excellent mathematics content,
sound instructional methodology, and highly engaging activities. Because
it effectively models the NCTM Standards, it is the perfect instructional
material for preparing preservice teachers. . . I am confident that
my students will use RiddleMath in their own classrooms. Moreover,
I suspect that many of their colleagues will want their own copies
of the book so that their students may be just as engaged and excited
— Diane Profita Schiller, Ph.D, Professor of Curriculum
and Instruction, Loyola University of Chicago
“I was pleased with the range of what was possible. The top kids
turned it into algebra. The others worked it out with the materials.
I totally loved it!” — Jules Strasser, Teacher
“I'm always excited to teach the lessons and to elicit the
'wow' of math.” — Karen Murphy, Teacher
“I found the teacher directions to be very good, on a par with
the Marilyn Burns' materials that I've used. My students liked the
challenge and learned new strategies.” — Linda Gorman,
Top of Page
at a Glance
To help each student develop:
• A powerful repertoire of problem-solving strategies
• The ability to represent mathematical ideas using concrete
• Facility with basic math facts and operations
• Reading comprehension and writing skills
• Cooperative learning strategies
• Confidence in self as a problem poser and solver
The lessons address all strands, with an emphasis on algebra, number,
logic and language.
Includes place value, money, multiplication and division concepts, basic
facts for addition and multiplication, geometric shapes, area, perimeter,
algebra, and word problems.
For ages 7 to 11. Problem sets of varying difficulty are provided.
Ideal for multi-level and multi-lingual groups.
From two to four sessions of 45-60 minutes per type of riddle.
Designed to be integrated into other math units during the course
of the year
Reading, writing, and oral language
158-page teacher's guide, including 100 blackline masters for transparencies
Classroom-tested by the author over a six-year period
Reviewed and piloted by teachers at six other school sites
Top of Page
RiddleMath has been adopted as part of the
GEAR UP teacher inservice project, and is currently in use in several
hundred classrooms in Chicago-area schools. It is the basis for an
inservice TV series.
RiddleMath has also been accepted for inclusion among the
Eisenhower National Consortium math and science resources.
The RiddleMath approach to creating math riddles has been
featured in a "cover story" article in the NCTM journal
Teaching Children Mathematics.
Top of Page
/ Sample Riddles
Students use comparisons and proportions to identify quantities
of four kinds of beans.
Algebraic thinking, comparison, addition, subtraction,
I have 15 beans altogether.
I have 1 fewer white than black.
I have the same number
of pintos and reds.
I have 4 white beans.
Students identify groups of coins based on the total value
and comparative clues.
Counting money, language of comparison, algebraic thinking
I have 10 coins.
My coins are worth 61¢.
I have twice as many nickels as dimes.
I have no quarters.
Base Ten Riddles
Students discover groupings of base ten blocks that represent
Place value, regrouping, area
My blocks cover 241 square centimeters.
I have more tens than hundreds.
I have 7 blocks in all.
Students arrange color tiles into rectangles of given areas
Multiplication, factors, area, perimeter
My room is shaped like a rectangle.
It has an area of 28 square inches.
It has a perimeter of 22 inches.
Postage Stamp Riddles
Students identify combinations of stamps that make up various
Multiplication, addition, money,
I have 10 stamps.
They are 3¢ and 5¢ stamps.
They are worth 40¢.
Things in Groups
Students group objects to identify an unknown number according
to its divisibility.
Division, multiples, factors
On a distant planet there are between 29 and 39 aliens.
There is an even number.
They could divide themselves into 4 equal spaceship crews
with none left over.
They could divide themselves into 8 crews with none left
Pattern Block Riddles
Students form geometric figures using the "values"
of pattern blocks and other clues.
Geometry, combining and subdividing shapes, area, perimeter,
My shape is a trapezoid.
It is worth $12.
I used 6 blocks.
I didn’t use any yellows.
The perimeter is 10 inches.
Hint: Make a red butterfly
in the middle.
Color Tile Algebra
Students use color tiles and number tiles to identify unknowns
Algebraic thinking, addition, subtraction, missing addends
Green + Blue = 10
Red – Yellow = 7
Yellow + Red = 11
Blue = 4
Students make sense of mathematical "tales"
by placing missing numbers in math stories.
Interpreting word problems, number sense, addition,
subtraction, other operations
Telltale Birthdays by Jennifer
It is March right row. My birthday is ___ months away. I
am going to turn ___ on October ___. My sister is three
years older than me. She is going to turn ___ in about ___
months. That will be on January ___.
Fill in these numbers so that the story makes sense:
4 12 9 10
Students make use of letter "values" to identify
unknown words and sentences.
Addition, subtraction, missing addends
(a = 1¢, b = 2¢, and so on.
Rearrange the words to form a sentence.)
__at = 27¢ __ = 1¢
__ave = 36¢ __ = 9¢
__ox = 45¢ __his = 56¢
i__ = 23¢ __ox
Number Tile Puzzles
Students complete addition and multiplication equations
using sets of number tiles.
Addition, missing addends, multiplication, factors,
guess-and-check problem solving
(See cover image for example.)