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Witzzle Pro Math Game

I was first introduced to the Witzzle Pro Math Game at a meeting of the Tulsa Math Teachers’ Circle in 2014. I knew instantly that I had to use this game in my classroom.

If you’ve spent anytime on my blog at all, you know that I adore puzzles. Witzzle is a combination of the words “wit” and “puzzle.” At the Math Teachers’ Circle session I attended, we played several rounds of the game. Each winner got to take home a free copy of the game.

Even though I sadly didn’t win, I did fall in love with the game of Witzzle Pro. Though, these days, I usually just refer to it as “Witzzle.”

Witzzle Pro Math Game
Image Source: Wang Education

Witzzle Pro is the creation of Louis Sher, an amateur mathematician from Texas. Here’s a summary of the game from Wang Education:

The object of this game is to find ways of using three numbers in any row, column, or diagonal of a 3 x 3 square of numbers to achieve a target number (from -12 to 36) using the four basic arithmetic operations.

Witzzle Pro comes with 40 playing cards each printed with a unique grid of nine numbers and specially designed dice used for achieving the target number. Witzzle Pro can be played at seven different levels of play ranging from Beginning to Advanced. The included instruction booklet shows you how to use Witzzle Pro for Individual, Group, or Team play with multiple variations on each. For students fourth grade and higher.

Here’s an example card and a summary of how to play from Kaidy Educational Resources (the company of the game creator).

how to play Witzzle Pro Math Game

The rules of the game are simple.  Roll the number cubes to get a target number between -12 and 36.  You must use three numbers and two operations to reach the target number.  

The three numbers must come from a single row, column, or diagonal on the card.  First player to achieve the target number, specifying the correct order of operations wins.

For example, if the target number on the card above was 32, you could use the middle row (7 8 3) to achieve the target number.  (7-3)*8 = 32.

You can also make negative numbers by subtracting a larger number from a smaller number.  If your target number was -10, you could achieve it by using the left-hand column (5 7 2).  2 – 7 – 5 = -10.

I love the game of Witzzle for math class because it gives students much needed practice with integer operations at the same time that it forces students to consider the order of operations.

The day after learning about this game, I tried playing it with my Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 students.  Since I hadn’t won a game at the MTC meeting, I pulled up a snapshot of a Witzzle Pro card that I found via a Google Image search.  

I set up my TI-84 to randomly generate integers from -12 to 36.  After a short explanation of how the game worked, I put the card up on the screen and gave my students a target number.

The first student to find a solution shouts, “Witzzle!”  They must come up to the board and correctly write a numerical expression using a row/column/diagonal of numbers from the card.  

Order of operations matters!  After the student writes their solution, the class decides whether the written expression equals the target number as written.

Instead of me correcting mistakes, students were correcting other students’ mistakes.  It was awesome.  The first student to correctly achieve the target number was given a LifeSavers mint.  (I buy these in bulk!)  A new random integer was generated, and the game continued.  

My students loved it!  After playing 5-6 rounds, I was ready to move on to another activity I had planned.  There was an absolute uproar from my students who had not yet won a piece of candy!

I like this game because it reviews mental math, order of operations, and integer operations without a worksheet.  It’s fun.  It’s fast-paced.  It’s challenging.  Anybody can win.  It forces you to think fast AND be able to justify your answer.  

Students are critiquing other students’ work and offering constructive feedback.  And, students are doing a crazy amount of math without even realizing it.

This is what I want integer and order of operation review to look like in my classroom next year.  Next year, I want to dub Wednesdays as “Witzzle Wednesdays.”  I plan on displaying a card and setting a timer for five minutes.  I will give students a target number.  

Every time that target number is achieved, that student wins a piece of candy.  And, a new target number will be chosen.  This process repeats until the timer goes off.

Now, I just need to come up with themes for the rest of the week.  I remember reading on someone else’s blog that they did “Mental Math Mondays.”  I’m definitely planning on stealing that.  Maybe trivia on Tuesdays?  And, “Tease Your Brain” Thursdays?  Of course, I can’t get rid of Friday Funnies or my students might just rebel.

If you’re interested in using this game in your classroom, there are several options.  Obviously, you can purchase the board game to use in class.  

What’s Inside the Box?

Witzzle Pro Math Game box
back of Witzzle Pro Math Game box
inside of Witzzle Pro Math Game box
Witzzle Pro Math Game box contents
Witzzle Pro Math Game instructions
Witzzle Pro Math Game summary of play
Witzzle Pro Math Game levels of play
Witzzle Pro Math Game possible solutions

Daily Witzzle

There are also books of Daily Witzzle puzzles.  

Other pdf samples are available here and here.

There is also an online version called Witzzle Lite that you can play for free! The website isn’t actually live anymore, but I have edited the link to go to an archived version of the website that still works.

Apparently, some schools have their own Witzzle clubs or host Witzzle contests.  How fun!  Here’s a free handbook that has been made available to schools.

Variations on Witzzle

Witzzle Jr.

Kaidy Educational Resources published a resource book called Witzzle Jr. Students were given a Witzzle card and asked to find expressions for every number between 1 and 10.

Here’s a sample puzzle from the archived version of Kaidy’s website.

Witzzle Pro

Kaidy also produced a Witzzle Pro Activity Book. I was curious what set this apart from the regular game of Witzzle since it’s marked as Witzzle Pro. The sample puzzle they provided on their website had students find expressions for 1 to 10 just like Witzzle Jr.

But in an interesting twist, students had to find THREE DIFFERENT EXPRESSIONS for each number.

Witzzle Puzzle

When I saw that a Witzzle Puzzle was included on Kaidy’s website, I was definitely confused. Isn’t Witzzle already a puzzle? Interestingly, the puzzle is the exact same, but a scoring mechanism has been introduced.

The goal of the puzzle is to find expressions for each of the numbers between 1 and 10. You score points for each expression which are equal to the sum of the numbers involved in the expression.

You may also score bonus points if your expression’s numbers are in decreasing numerical order. Interesting!

Mini Decimal Witzzle

Kaidy Educational Resources had two examples on their website of Mini Decimal Witzzle.

HOW TO PLAY: Calculate using the numbers in the box to solve for a target number.  All four numbers must be used only once for each solution.  Add, subtract, multiply and/or divide using order of operations rules.  At least one solution is guaranteed for targets -6 to 6.

Kaidy Educational Resources

Mini Fraction Witzzle

Kaidy Educational Resources also offers a version of mini fraction witzzle.

HOW TO PLAY: Calculate using the numbers in the box to solve for a target number.  All four numbers must be used only once for each solution.  Add, subtract, multiply and/or divide using order of operations rules.  At least one solution is guaranteed for targets -6 to 6.

Kaidy Educational Resources

Mini Number Witzzle

There is also a mini version that is just called Mini Number Witzzle.

Jenna G

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

I know you said you need to come up with the other days of the week. I always have my students play 24 Tuesdays. We play different variations of the game 24. My students love it.

Huegel01

Wednesday 6th of May 2020

Your links are not working for me. Is there a way that you might be able to share them with me a different way. Possibly to my email. nerissa.huegel@ccsd21.org I am looking to try this out next year. Thanks.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Friday 15th of May 2020

I just updated the links!

Unknown

Thursday 16th of August 2018

I stumbled across Witzzle Pro years ago. My students and I love it! I have adapted the game for different situations.

Unknown

Wednesday 27th of July 2016

Hi I am in same boat as Jenn above. If you have any printables or more information on how to make more witzzle puzzles it would be appreciated. Thanks.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Sunday 31st of July 2016

If you do a google image search for Witzzle, you can find quite a few pictures of Witzzle cards. I've used this to compile quite a few number combinations. I just ordered a used version on Ebay for myself.

Jenn Hojer

Thursday 21st of July 2016

Do you know where we can find this game? All of the links do not work as it appears that the website/publisher is out of business. I would LOVE to incorporate this higher level of thinking in my classroom!

mary lou

Saturday 6th of May 2017

The card game is now being distributed at a store in Richardson, TX called Teaching Etc. their phone number is 972.480.9082 and their online catalog is teachingetccatalog.com

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Sunday 31st of July 2016

Finding a used version is probably your best bet. I just bought one off of Ebay. In the mean time, if you do a google images search for "Witzzle", you can find pictures of a lot of the cards. This gives you enough info to play with your class. :)