Saturday, August 3, 2019

#MTBoSBlaugust - Puzzle Place

This month, I am participating in a blogging challenge called #MTBoSBlaugust.  To read posts from other participants, click on the logo above.

In the 2017-2018 school year, I read this blog post by Sara Vanderwerf about having a Play Table in the classroom.  I loved the idea of mathematical play and encouraging students to experience math as a puzzle and something fun.

About this same time, Sarah Carter started posting about puzzles in her classroom and honestly, if Sarah Carter tells me to do it, I'd better figure out a way to do it :)

So the "Puzzle Place" was born.  I spent the first part of the 17-18 year trying to figure out the logistics and by mid-year, I was ready to unveil the Puzzle Place.  It wasn't much, just a filing cabinet and a chalkboard from the Target Dollar Spot.  It took a while for students to even notice the puzzles and I didn't do a great job of advertising it. :)

Throughout the 2018-19 school year, I continued to gather more puzzles and from the first week of school, students did a better job of noticing the Puzzle Place.  It's kind of tucked away in a weird little corner by the door that was originally meant to house laptop carts when our building was first built.  As the year progressed, more and more students visited the Puzzle Place, often making that their first stop at the start of class.

Each week, I would put out a new puzzle - some were definitely more challenging than others.  My only requirement when looking for puzzles was that I wanted them to be fairly manipulative.  I compiled a binder of puzzles with instructions that got placed in a sheet protector on the wall and puzzle pieces that were on the file cabinet.

As the year progressed, I recognized that I wanted to expand the puzzle place for a couple of reasons:

  1. While I would have mostly new students this year, I have about 20 that have already seen the puzzles I used last year.
  2. I wanted more variety to the puzzles, maybe post some brain teasers or mental math type activities
  3. Some of the puzzles were quickly solved and then there wasn't a reason to visit the Puzzle Place throughout the week
At the right, you can see my revamped Puzzle Place.  It still has the manipulative puzzle on the cabinet, but now there are 3 more puzzles on the wall that are more mental.  Now, it's on my to-do list to find more of these puzzles.  Here are the resources I have so far:

What other resources would you suggest?

1 comment:

Algebra's Friend said...

I love your puzzle table!! I look forward to hearing about more sources for puzzles.