Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Practice Structures - Tarsia Puzzles

One of the pre-service teachers that I mentored introduced me to the free Tarsia Software.  It is one of the coolest things ever.  You have probably seen puzzles like this

online.  You may have bought a premade puzzle or slaved in a word processing program with tons of text boxes and graphics to create your won.  The Tarsia software just does this for you.  It has an equation editor, which is amazing.  You type in your questions and answers and the program creates a table with the problems/solutions, a puzzle to be printed out (mixed up pieces) and a solution puzzle (pieces put together).  It's mind blowing really.

I have not found a way to upload these to google docs with out printing to pdf :(  However, Mr. Barton has made lots of tarsia puzzles and uploaded them on his website.

When I use these in class, I typically give each group of 3 their own puzzle.  I usually print them one the smallest output and then copy 2 to 1 one sided.  This creates a puzzle that can be glued onto a standard sheet of construction paper.  I suppose if you wanted the novelty of the giant puzzle, you could just give each student one piece and have them solve just the problems on their piece and then work as a class to assemble the puzzle. Just a warning.  These can be very time consuming and easily take an entire 50 minute period for students to complete.


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