skip to main content

Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

Absurd Math: Math Story Problems


Activity Description

Absurd Math
Source: Absurd Math Activity (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])

Absurd Math is an interactive mathematical problem-solving game series for pre-algebra. The player proceeds on missions in a strange world where the ultimate power consists of mathematical skill and knowledge. Many of the pages have hidden clues and areas. Anytime a player needs help, they may e-mail the staff for assistance. They try to respond within two days. Teachers can e-mail them for answer keys. This activity is great for gamers among our students. You can get them to do the math as they explore this world. To complete this activity, use the Example Web Site (above). To find other math story problems, use the Web site link below. 

Don't be tricked by the authorization codes. On the first page, it states the Energy Level times area is the authorization code. You are in area 46 and the energy level is -3. Your students will need to multiply 46 X (-3) to uncover the authorization code. This activity is to challenge your students who already understand the basic concepts.


  1. Preview the game by playing it yourself. The main Web page (below) has other games if you would like to try a different one. Some episodes require worksheets or other handouts to be printed. Prepare these ahead of time.
  2. Each episode is structured differently and you will need to explore all areas.
  3. Group students of varied skill levels allowing those with lower skills to still succeed in solving the problems.


  1. Review story problem steps.
  2. Review any math skills necessary.
  3. Access the site.
  4. Introduce the game objective.
  5. Divide the class into groups, or pairs for collaborative work
  6. Sometimes there are worksheets that must be printed.

Teacher Tips

This Web site is great for teenagers or anyone who enjoys gaming. But it is not limited to these groups. It is a fun, ongoing adventure story that requires math skills to complete.

Mr. E. Mike (Michael Cain) created the Absurb game, but he also has another website with lessons, videos, and worksheets. The worksheets also have a gaming element to them. Check out Tower 23.

Program Areas

  • ABE: Adult Basic Education
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma


  • Intermediate
  • High

Lesson Plan


The content on this site is pre-algebra. Take time to review concepts.

  • Introduce the game as a challenging way to practice what they have learned in class.
  • They will need to think outside the box.
Engagement Enhancement
  1. Project the Absurd Math website on the screen/board.
  2. Select different students to read the instructions.
  3. When you get to the first room, have students discuss the authorization code in groups of two or three.
  4. Enter the codes the groups are suggesting.
  5. When the correct code is discovered, it is very important to have the group explain to the class how they found the code.
  6. Teach them how to save their work by recording the page code.
Engagement Enhancement
  • Divide students into pairs and send them to the Absurd Math website.
  • Walk around the room, observing their progress and helping as needed.
  • After a set time, celebrate the group that has gone the farthest. 
  • As you walk around the room, identify any concepts your students are having difficulties with.
  • Reteach those concepts as needed.

Pre-algebra is very important in our lives. Have students discuss what they have learned and how they will use it.


  • Math
    • Conversions
    • Decimals
    • Fractions
    • Percentages
    • Pre-Algebra
    • Proportions
    • Whole Number Skills


  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
    • 1.OA.2 - Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
    • 1.OA.3-4 - Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
    • 1.OA.5-6 - Add and subtract with 20.
    • 1.OA.7-8 - Work with addition and subtraction.
    • 2.OA.1 - Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
    • 2.OA.2 - Add and subtract with 20.
    • 3.OA.1-3 - Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
    • 3.OA.5-6 - Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.
    • 3.OA.7 - Multiply and divide within 100.
    • 3.OA.9 - Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.
    • 4.OA.1-3 - Use the four operations with whole numbers to solve problems.
    • 4.OA.4 - Gain familiarity with factors and multiples.
    • 4.OA.5 - Generate and analyze patterns.
    • 5.OA.1-2 - Write and interpret numerical expressions.
  • Expressions and Equations
    • 6.EE.1-4 - Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.
    • 7.EE.3-4b - Solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations.
  • Number and Quantity: Quantities
    • N.Q.1,3 - Reason quantitatively and use units to solve problems.
  • Algebra: Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities
    • A.REI.1-2 - Understand solving equations as a process of reasoning and explain the reasoning.


math, math problems, math story problems, problems, project-based learning, story, story problems, abmath, absurd math, absurdmath, collaboration, critical thinking, math adventure
Scroll To Top

OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.