Triangle 1 – Manipulate these pieces to form a triangle
Triangle Puzzle – Excellent Problem Solving Lesson
This shape puzzle is designed to improve student problem-solving skills. In it they are required to move the pieces around (constantly manipulate them) to form a larger shape. In the case of this puzzle the students need to manipulate the smaller pieces and place them so as to form a triangle.
How You Might Like to Use This Puzzles
As an activity in a dedicated puzzle solving block
As an ‘Early finisher’ activity.
For Brain Breaks
As a focusing/settling activity after lunch
As a Homework task
When someone or something has been canceled and you find yourself with a little time on your hands 🙂
What You Need:
1 puzzle for each student
1 pair of scissors each
a writing implement
1 unsealed paper envelope
A Possible Shape Puzzle Process:
I started using puzzles like these in my classrooms many more years ago than I care to remember. I experimented with many different ways to introduce and use. Eventually, I came up with what I believe to be my most effective method. Feel free to give it a go and see if it works for you and your students.
Introduce the puzzle on a Monday with about 15 or 20 minutes of a Math session to go. Explain the goal of the puzzle i.e. to move the smaller shapes to create a larger one.
Begin cutting a puzzle out for yourself at the front of the room and use a rather loud self-talk. ‘Notice how I am cutting really close to the edge of the shape and I am taking my time to do it carefully. I found in the past when people rush these step they wreck the puzzle pieces and it makes it almost impossible to solve the puzzle. Students cut out the puzzle at the same time.
Discuss possible problem-solving strategies that might be useful while cutting out the puzzle e.g. constant manipulation of the pieces, guess and check, looking for patterns etc feel free to add your own banter and anecdotes.
Very Important – Have students initial each of their puzzle pieces on the white side. Once the pieces are all cut out the students can begin trying to solve their puzzle.
When packing up, students place their puzzle pieces into an unsealed envelope with their name on the front for storage.
Write the name of any student absent on the puzzle handout and put it somewhere safe to give to them on their return.
Possible Ways to Record Shape Puzzle Solutions:
Have students trace the puzzle pieces in the shape of the solution
Students glue the solution down leaving gaps so the individual shapes are visible
Students photograph their solution for a portfolio.
Possible Ways to Display Puzzle Solutions:
Use blu tack to stick the solutions to the classroom windows
Use fridge magnets to display the solutions on the fridge
Pin them to the classroom walls
Shape Puzzle Storage Tips:
Imagine this if you will. A single puzzle piece is found on the floor. You hold it up and ask if anyone is missing a piece. Remarkably no one has but here you have it in your hand hehehe
Students initial each puzzle piece as they cut it out.
Store the puzzles in an unsealed envelope with the student’s name on the front.
Students keep the envelope in their desk or storage tray for easy access.
Sometimes I have the students write the week the puzzle was handed out on each piece e.g. Wk7
The envelope strategy makes it easy to transport the puzzle too and from school
How to Download This Shape Puzzle:
- Add the puzzle to your Cart using the ‘Add to Cart’ Button. NB You can only get the resources 2 puzzles at a time. #longstory
- Press the very small ‘View Cart’ Button at the very top right of this page.
- Press the ‘Proceed to Checkout’ Button
- Add your email address to prove you are human
- Press ‘Place Order’ and then scroll down to ‘Order Details’ and click on your resource there. It will open ready to save, print, cut out and use.
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