What is MathPickle?

MathPickle.com is a free online resource of original mathematical puzzles, games and unsolved problems for K-12 teachers. It is supported by the American Institute of Mathematics.

MathPickle.com is a practical resource for teachers. Its visually compelling puzzles and games engage students in tough problem solving. Its puzzles are organized by grade and subject – each designed for a 45-60 minute period. All have low-floor, high-ceiling. They engage struggling students in curricular skill acquisition, and deflect top students into tenacity-building challenges.

Your work is being chosen as a free time activity by 9 and 10-year olds. If that isn’t a testament to quality materials, I don’t know what is. It is definitely one of the highlights of my teaching career.
Jason Kornoely

Fourth Grade Teacher, Pine Ridge Elementary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

I stumbled upon your site, MathPickle.com, this morning and two hours later I’m still there.  Just wanted to drop you a brief note to say thank you for all the great resources, ideas, and inspiring videos!  
Amy Tanner

Assistant Professor, Education Department, St. Catherine University

What does it teach?

MathPickle is not a curriculum. Instead, it showcases the gems of mathematics that are essential in every curriculum. Its activities span counting and patterns in kindergarten through to algebra, probability and Cartesian coordinates in high school.

MathPickle goes beyond arithmetic and computation and gets students into a pickle. Lessons are not nicely wrapped up. Students are left with raw and unresolved questions.


How does it teach?

 MathPickle gives every student – especially the top students – a regular experience of failure – starting in Kindergarten. This removes the stigma of failure from the classroom. MathPickle also gives every student a regular experience of success. This requires that fast students are adroitly managed so as not to impinge on the full-hearted success of the methodical, slow problem solvers. It’s hard fun. We rejoice when students ask for “homework.” We laugh when they must be stopped from working and told to go outside for recess.


Unsolved Problems in Elementary School?

MathPickle’s long-term objective is to get unsolved problems in classrooms worldwide. The idea here is not to give students an unsolved problem and then laugh at them. A well chosen unsolved problem can be both curricular and can be presented in such a way to give vignettes of success. See some unsolved problems in classrooms here.


The MathPickle Team

Gordon Hamilton (MMath, PhD) is a Canadian board game and puzzle designer. He founded MathPickle in 2010 to inject unsolved problems into the classroom.  There is nothing he enjoys more than stumping students and having them stump him. Gordon is the designer of the board game Santorini which launched April 2016 with the largest ever kickstarter for a themed strategy game ($700,000).

Lora Saarnio, CEO of MathPickle, has had a long-standing interest in teaching collaborative and creative problem solving in mathematics. She has taught every grade K-12. Currently, she teaches math and computer science at The Nueva School in Northern California. Lora was also the Director of the K-12 Julia Robinson Math Festival and helped grow it into 17 US states and 5 countries.

Erik van Haren is MathPickle Ambassador to Europe. He sports his own vibrant website: mathplay.eu where he inspires educators and students. Erik loves to bring fun into the math classroom and in 2020 we will be working together to develop some educational board games that are not just educational, but fun.

Welcome Erik!

MathPickle was a happy company for the whole month of August 2016 when ten awesome student interns helped with videos, puzzles and website development… back row left to right: Lydia Cho, Ruth Chen, Sheena Cheng, Si Ran Wang, Fazeela Mulji, Nikki Anviha; and front row: Jiaming (Carter) Huang, Aidan Xu, Joey Love, Dr. Pickle, Nicholas Lee.