Use Ruffian Ritual as an icebreaker at the start of the year or on a day where they just need to do something physical. It will get them thinking about patterns and asking tough questions. For how many ruffians is this puzzle solvable? Brute force might help solve some puzzles for ten or less ruffians, but after a while, we really want to encourage students to think up some general solutions. This is not easy which is why I suggest grades 8+.
Standards for Mathematical Practice
MathPickle puzzle and game designs engage a wide spectrum of student abilities while targeting the following Standards for Mathematical Practice:
MP1 Toughen up!
This is problem solving where our students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.
MP3 Work together!
This is collaborative problem solving in which students discuss their strategies to solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.
MP6 Be precise!
This is where our students learn to communicate using precise terminology. MathPickle encourages students not only to use the precise terms of others, but to invent and rigorously define their own terms.
MP7 Be observant!
One of the things that the human brain does very well is identify pattern. We sometimes do this too well and identify patterns that don't really exist.