Japanese Ladder Games for Combinatorics

Three fascinating games from Steven T. Dougherty and Jennifer Franko Vasquez at The University of Scranton appear as “Ladder Games” in MAA Focus, June-July 2011. Mathematicians will enjoy the group theory and combinatorics used to explain the way the games work, while their students will have fun with these games as an intuitive introduction to the concepts.

The authors write that the three games, “…can be played by anyone regardless of their level of mathematical sophistication. When you are done playing these highly addictive games you will have a deeper understanding of permutations and group actions and you will learn a very interesting connection to coding theory. We have found that the games are very enjoyable to play and that players end up understanding complex mathematical ideas without realizing they have done so.”


Bingo in a Math Lecture


This game could work in any definition-heavy math or science class lecture. In statistics class, hypothesis testing is traditionally one of the most difficult units, filled with new vocabulary and difficult concepts. To alleviate tension introducing this topic, I used bingo cards, with the vocabulary words randomized on it.

See the full story in the Faculty Focus.