## To my Students:

I cannot tell you all how happy I am to see so many of you participating in my weekly Challenge Problems. These riddles and KenKen puzzles are designed to encourage critical and "out-of-the-box" thinking. I am sure you all have heard these terms from many of your teachers. Trust me though, as a junior in college who is majoring in mathematics, these abilities are more important than you can imagine. They are useful not only in school, but also in everyday life. However, to quote Dr. Fitzsimmons, I know you are all "college bound" so I will focus on how they are helpful to you as a student. No matter what subject (math, science, reading, writing, history) you are taking these skills can help you succeed. For example, say the class has a reading assignment about the Pilgrims landing in North America. One of the "critical thinking" questions that you might have to answer for your homework could be, "would you have left your home in Europe to join the Pilgrims?" The answer to this question you cannot find flipping through your book. However, a student who is good at critical thinking can use the book to help them figure out their answer. By looking through the book for the reasons why the Pilgrims left, you can decide if you would have left for the same reasons. Another way to come to your answer for this question is to think a little "out-of-the-box." You could do some research and find out what exactly the Mayflower Compact required the Pilgrims to agree to do. If anything you find was something you would not agree to then you could say, "because the Mayflower Compact said...I would prefer to stay in Europe." This is just one example, but trust me students as you continue your path through school the more you can improve your skills in these two types of thinking the more you will succeed.

Since you now have a better understanding of what my Challenge Problems are designed to do, let's talk about how to complete the assignments. You all have been doing very well with the riddles. When I write them out, I generally have the correct answer in mind. However, I was very impressed to see that many of you have come up with answers that I didn't think of which are correct. This shows that many of you students have very impressive abilities in "out-of-the-box" thinking. So from now on when you are writing your answers to the riddles, please include an explanation of why you chose the answer that you did. If you can give me a great explanation of why you chose the answer you did, then even if it is not the answer to the riddle that I had in mind, I will still mark it as correct. For some tips on how to answer the riddles as well as possible, click through the links at the top of this page.

So, everybody's favorite part of Mr. C's Challenge Problems is the KenKen puzzles right? I know math is not the favorite subject of many students; but look at it this way I am giving you all a puzzle to do rather than regular problems! You have to admit these are alot more fun than your regular math assignments. I am really excited to see that many of you put alot of effort into the KenKen puzzles I give out each week. I am not going to lie to you, these puzzles are very challenging. In fact, they were actually created by one of the top mathematics professors in Japan, named Tetsuya Miyamoto. The purpose of these puzzles is to encourage you all to expand your mathematical as well as critical thinking abilities beyond your everyday class assignments. Believe it or not, these puzzles are actually proven to make you smarter.

I wish I had a chance to explain to the class exactly how to complete these puzzles, since I only handed out the rules with the first week's problem set. So in order to make up for this, I will do my best to explain the rules of KenKen to you on this webpage and give a few examples for you all to look at. To see the explanation of how to complete the KenKen puzzles, go back to the top of this page and click on the links to the next few pages. Again, none of these assignments are required for you to complete, but I hope that you will all continue to impress me with your enthusiasm and desire to expand your knowledge and ability in school.

Of course I know the question on all of my students' mind is, "what about the prizes?" Well my creating of these Challenge Problems started with two students of mine asking me to give them a few extra problems for them to work on each week that were more challenging. To my amazement, everyone wanted to participate in doing "extra homework." Which as a future teacher, is something that both astonishes me and fills me with joy. I believe that hard work deserves reward. So I will continue to give out prizes for my Challenge Problems as follows. For anyone who turns in the assignment and their work shows effort, you will receive a second place prize. For anyone who turns in the assigment and gets at least two problems right, you will receive a first place prize. Finally, the student or students who earn the highest score each week will receive the Grand Prize.

Since you now have a better understanding of what my Challenge Problems are designed to do, let's talk about how to complete the assignments. You all have been doing very well with the riddles. When I write them out, I generally have the correct answer in mind. However, I was very impressed to see that many of you have come up with answers that I didn't think of which are correct. This shows that many of you students have very impressive abilities in "out-of-the-box" thinking. So from now on when you are writing your answers to the riddles, please include an explanation of why you chose the answer that you did. If you can give me a great explanation of why you chose the answer you did, then even if it is not the answer to the riddle that I had in mind, I will still mark it as correct. For some tips on how to answer the riddles as well as possible, click through the links at the top of this page.

So, everybody's favorite part of Mr. C's Challenge Problems is the KenKen puzzles right? I know math is not the favorite subject of many students; but look at it this way I am giving you all a puzzle to do rather than regular problems! You have to admit these are alot more fun than your regular math assignments. I am really excited to see that many of you put alot of effort into the KenKen puzzles I give out each week. I am not going to lie to you, these puzzles are very challenging. In fact, they were actually created by one of the top mathematics professors in Japan, named Tetsuya Miyamoto. The purpose of these puzzles is to encourage you all to expand your mathematical as well as critical thinking abilities beyond your everyday class assignments. Believe it or not, these puzzles are actually proven to make you smarter.

I wish I had a chance to explain to the class exactly how to complete these puzzles, since I only handed out the rules with the first week's problem set. So in order to make up for this, I will do my best to explain the rules of KenKen to you on this webpage and give a few examples for you all to look at. To see the explanation of how to complete the KenKen puzzles, go back to the top of this page and click on the links to the next few pages. Again, none of these assignments are required for you to complete, but I hope that you will all continue to impress me with your enthusiasm and desire to expand your knowledge and ability in school.

Of course I know the question on all of my students' mind is, "what about the prizes?" Well my creating of these Challenge Problems started with two students of mine asking me to give them a few extra problems for them to work on each week that were more challenging. To my amazement, everyone wanted to participate in doing "extra homework." Which as a future teacher, is something that both astonishes me and fills me with joy. I believe that hard work deserves reward. So I will continue to give out prizes for my Challenge Problems as follows. For anyone who turns in the assignment and their work shows effort, you will receive a second place prize. For anyone who turns in the assigment and gets at least two problems right, you will receive a first place prize. Finally, the student or students who earn the highest score each week will receive the Grand Prize.