Speed Counting to infinity

(MathPickle, 2010)

For one class teachers should just count and count and count. There is no better way to show the relative size of numbers. Cheating after 200 is allowed 😉

I now believe in starting really, really slowly. “One” should take 30 seconds to say.  “Two” should take about 25 seconds. By the time you get to 100, you are counting intelligibly. When you hit 200, start to speak intelligibly only for every tenth number… keep speeding up.

This is a vignette that all young students should experience. Get a visitor with some dramatic sensibility to come into your class to do it. That’s better than wasting your political capital on something so strange 😉

There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.

Edsger Dijkstra

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!

Students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.

MP2 Think abstractly!

Students take problems and reformat them mathematically. This is helpful because mathematics lets them use powerful operations like addition.

MP3 Work together!

Students discuss their strategies to collaboratively solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.

MP4 Model reality!

Students create a model that mimics the real world. Discoveries made by manipulating the model often hint at something in the real world.

MP5 Use the right tools!

Students should use the right tools: 0-99 wall charts, graph paper, mathigon.org. etc.

MP6 Be precise!

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!

Students learn to identify patterns. This is one of the things that the human brain does very well. We sometimes even identify patterns that don't really exist 😉

MP8 Be lazy!?!

Students learn to seek for shortcuts. Why would you want to add the numbers one through a hundred if you can find an easier way to do it?


Please use MathPickle in your classrooms. If you have improvements to make, please contact me. I'll give you credit and kudos 😉 For a free poster of MathPickle's ideas on elementary math education go here.

Gordon Hamilton

(MMath, PhD)