**Bulgarian Solitaire**

##### c. 1980

Algorithms sometimes get a bad rap. Of course we don’t want our children to end up as “algorithmic thinkers” – only able to apply an algorithm without understanding. However, students should become used to algorithms… it is how much of the world works. Download a pdf here.

This algorithm is simple enough for kindergarten students. They should definitely play with it!

The patterns generated are complex enough for junior high students to tackle. They should play with it!

With K-8 students I always use the backdrop of King Kong rearranging a city skyline – That is a better theme than “Bulgarian Solitaire.”

Konstantin Oskolkov of the Steklov Mathematical Institute in Moscow was told about this puzzle by a stranger c.1980. It has become known as Bulgarian Solitaire.

**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.