(MathPickle, 2011 – Based on work by Harold Coxeter and John Horton Conway)

Send your students on a dangerous trip which coincidently happens to be a fantastic introduction/practice for division. If they make a mistake they’ll crash in a heap of fractions. If you want an easier wormhole, use 9 points instead of 11 points.  You will find both on the worksheets below: Some wormholes are a lot tougher than others – if you want a to standardize your wormhole experience do the codeword construction together as a class.

Download puzzle-sheets here.

See Ron Goodman’s wormhole calculator here. Thanks Ron!

Arithmetic, when properly taught, is acknowledged by all to be very important as a discipline of the mind; so much so, that even if it had no practical application, which should render it valuable on its own account, it would still be well worth while to bestow a considerable portion of time on it for this purpose alone.

Warren Colburn

Introductory Discourse and Lectures, Boston, 1830

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)