Monday, April 25, 2016

Jigsaw Puzzles + Math

Puzzle, Riddle, Toy, Playing  I love working jigsaw puzzles.  I even have a jigsaw puzzle app on my iPad so I can work a puzzle any time.  So I wondered if there is a way to use jigsaw puzzles in Math.  It turns out there is.  It just doesn't use jagged pieces, it uses square, triangle, rectangular, or other sharp edged shape.

I created a small sample jigsaw puzzle using trinomials and their factors to fill out the rectangle.  I chose trinomials with a leading coefficient of 1 so as to factor faster.  The idea is to cut this apart, then reassemble it.

Other topics that could be used this way:
1. Trinomials with leading coefficents other than 1.
2  Slope
3.  Equations of a line between two points.
4.  Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing fractions.
5.  Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing decimals.
6. Calculating percent.

Simple easy to make but what about a more complex puzzle that would be more recognizable as a jigsaw puzzle.  Why not have students work out problems such as completing the square and use that as the base for the puzzle. The student can cut it up after laminating it and its ready to be reconstructed.

On the other hand to add a technological twist to puzzle making,  use a puzzle making app or web based app that will take any picture and turn it into a puzzle.  Take the problem the student worked, snap a photo of it, turn it into a puzzle and let them put it together.

I think the type of puzzle I have a picture of is actually the best to use in math because it requires the student to work out the problems in order to put it together but I'm no expert.