Magic Squares

Magic Squares date back over 4,000 years to ancient China and have existed throughout history and in many different parts of the world. The magic lies in the fact that when the numbers in each row, column, and main diagonals of the square are added together, the sum is always the same. These number puzzles have fascinated some of the world's most brilliant thinkers, including the eighteenth century American Benjamin Franklin. He studied and composed some amazing magical squares, even going so far as to declare one square “the most magically magical of any magic square made by any magician.”

Magic Squares provide an engaging way to develop mental math skills. Use them as a warm-up at the beginning of math sessions or as a Math Center activity. Following are a few examples:

Books about Magic Squares

Magic Squares Math Read Aloud

   Task Card

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares
highlights Franklin's lifelong knack for inventions and chronicles his achievements as a publisher, scientist, writer, and patriot, as well as showing how he amused himself during meetings of the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly by creating magic squares. The final pages in the book provide instructions on how to make your own magic square. Use this as a math read aloud to introduce these math puzzles in Grades 2-5.

Before Soduku: The World of Magic Squares

Before Sudoku: The World of Magic Squares
Fans of Sudoku may not know that it is a recent offshoot of the Magic Square. Filled with lots of original number puzzles to solve, this book will delight anyone who loves a challenge

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