Mathematical Puzzle Programs

Teaching students with mathematical puzzles

The mission of Mathematical Puzzle Programs (MaPP) is to organize quality events which get students moving around, engaged in problems, and having fun by learning and using mathematics to solve a series of puzzles.

Many students struggle with motivation or anxiety issues when they have to sit at a desk with the dreaded "math" work looming over their heads. However, these same students may jump at the chance to solve a puzzle or play a game. The goal of MaPP is not just to provide select students with a single fun day of competition and puzzles each year, but to also build a bank of problems that teachers can take back to their classrooms for all students to enjoy year around.


Our mathematical content is pulled from various areas outside the usual secondary mathematics curriculum, such as design theory, game theory, number theory, graph theory, topology, and more!


We shredded the multiple choice tests, and instead designed several mathematical puzzles which will give your students a taste of real mathematical problem solving connected to active areas of mathematical research.


MaPP events are team-based, emphasizing collaboration and communication over individual work, as teamwork is crucial for success in both industry and academia.


Many of the challenges can’t be solved sitting down - players will find themselves running around their host campus to track down clues and uncover new puzzles to solve.


MaPP problems do not require information learned in standard high school courses and is designed for all interested students grades 7-12.

Supports Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice

Successful players in MaPP events will…

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

  4. Model with mathematics.

  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

  6. Attend to precision.

  7. Look for and make use of structure.

  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

More information may be found at:

MaPP, Math, and Research

One of the goals of Mathematical Puzzle Programs is to connect middle and high school students with mathematical research. In the past, MaPP programs have included puzzles based upon topology, game theory, design theory, and many other fields. By introducing these topics in the context of a mathematical puzzle competition, students are motivated to grapple with the material in order to discover the hidden messages within.