Harness your students’ inner competitive streak (and their burning desire to best their professors) with a session focusing on games or puzzles. These sessions often boost student attendance as well! Here are some ideas:

**1. Math Jeopardy**

This is a great activity for the first meeting of the semester. Have students supply the questions to answers in different categories (famous names, integrals, definitions, ...)

**Resources:** There are PowerPoint templates available online if you want to take a high-tech approach:

http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/25388/

http://www.jmu.edu/madison/teacher/jeopardy/jeopardy.htm

Or, you can simply draw a Jeopardy board on the chalkboard/whiteboard and use a paper list of questions.

Where to get questions? Brainstorm with your colleagues for categories during your department meeting, and then ask each person to send a list of questions via e-mail in each category. You will also want to collectively come up with a fun Final Jeopardy question. (We once had students match the names of professors with their dissertation titles.)

Have your students organize themselves into teams, and provide each team with a noisemaker to “buzz in” with their answers. Collect freebies at the Joint Meetings or other meetings to use as prizes for the winners!

**2.Games**

Build up your department's game library with these mathematical games:

**3. Four 4's problem**

Can you express all the numbers from 1 to 100 using an arithmetic combination of only four 4's? Have participants write their answers on the board.

**Resources:** For a detailed explanation of the rules, check out

http://www.math.hmc.edu/funfacts/ffiles/10006.8.shtml

**4. Tangrams**

Purchase inexpensive sets of plastic tangram sets and then hand out pictures for participants to reproduce.

**Resources:**

For a printable tangram puzzle and information about tangram books: http://www.funorama.com/tangram.html

More printable puzzles: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/chinesenewyear/tangram/

The history of tangrams, and how to make your own: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangram

**5. Rebus Puzzles**

Sharpen your problem-solving skills by solving these word puzzles. Examples:

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[Top Secret and Up to a point]

** **

**Resources: ** http://www.fun-with-words.com/rebus_puzzles.html

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