Sometimes cracking a code is all about figuring out the relationship between two (or more) seemingly unrelated items. Soon you see a pattern emerge and experience an “Aha!” moment.

When you give your brain time to mull over a puzzle, you join some of the greatest minds in history. These world-changing inventions all came about when smart folks spent time pondering a puzzle and then got hit with a moment of clarity that led to a truly amazing discovery:

  • The law of gravity
  • Matches
  • Microwave ovens
  • Potato chips
  • Velcro

Many of us wouldn’t be able to imagine life without these inventions. But you don’t need to create a scientific theory or invent a whiz-bang product to get the benefits of chewing on a problem and giving your brain a good workout.

Want to know how solving puzzles helps your brain? Working on logic puzzles can strengthen your short-term memory, which may help to reduce those pesky “Where did I put my keys?” and “Why did I walk into the kitchen?” moments. The process of using trial and error to solve a brain teaser can polish the problem-solving skills that help you out of everyday jams — like having a tech issue with your phone or realizing that you’re missing a key ingredient for the dish you were going to cook for tonight’s potluck.

Missing Number Brain Tease

Here’s our challenge to you: Try to solve our “What’s Your Number?” puzzle and see how long it takes you to come up with an answer. This math-and-logic brain teaser requires you to look at groups of seemingly unrelated numbers and shapes to spot a pattern. Hint: you’ll need to do some math, so make sure you have a calculator app or a pencil and paper handy.

Can you find the right number to put in the square with the red question mark? After you’ve come up with the answer, scroll down to check your number. Then, leave a comment to compare notes with other brain teaser fans on how you solved the problem and how long it took.

Missing Number Answer