'MATHadazzles!': Students create puzzles to make math fun

PHOENIX - Math and fun -- two words you probably wouldn’t put together in most cases, but now one group of students in the Valley is working to change that one puzzle at a time.

“I get an adrenaline rush whenever I’m solving a problem,” said Aidan Macias, a sixth grader. 

“I like the puzzle part,” said Laasya Vallabhaneni, who is in 11th grade. 

These students, and others, are now helping others up their own math game with some help from “MATHadazzles!” puzzle books.   

Teachers wrote Volumes 1-3 but local middle and high school students worked with Arizona State University’s PRIME Center to take over writing and editing duties after that.

“I told her these were pretty easy and I said that my grade could do it,” said Macias. “From there she suggested that my grade should do it.”

Fractions, decimals, algebraic equations -- it is a lot like Sudoku. Each puzzle is complete with clues and varying levels of difficulty.
“I always try to make them harder,” said Nickoli Mckenzie, who helped write the high-school-level puzzle books. “I would find a way to make them more engaging and more challenging.”

For those who may struggle with that whole arithmetic part of the “3 R’s,” these students say you don’t know what you can accomplish until you try.

“You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t know one else will,” said Vallabhaneni. “That math is fun, that they can actually solve problems without being like, ‘ughhh math,’” said Mckenzie.

“MATHadazzles!” are available on Amazon for $5.99 a book.

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