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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fight Spring Fever!

It's nearly springtime, teachers!  That means spring fever is nigh.  Your students will soon start yearning for summer vacation and tuning out in the classroom.  It takes a little more creativity to keep them engaged and learning.  I've got just thing for you; Spring Square Puzzlers.  

Square Puzzlers challenge both sides of your students' brains.  The colorful graphics appeal to the creative right hemisphere, but more importantly, the task speaks to the holistic, random, and intuitive nature of that hemisphere. Meanwhile, the logical left side of the brain is busy examining the parts of the puzzle, analyzing the details for possible solutions.  

The task in square puzzlers is to create a square with the given pieces in which all the images match on every interior side.  Spring Square Puzzlers includes 3 different puzzles of increasing difficulty.  

Students will manipulate these 4 puzzle pieces until they are able to match all the images while creating a 2 x 2 array. The 4 piece puzzle is perfect for beginners and young learners.

The next puzzle is a 3 x 3 square and is exponentially more difficult.  It provides enough challenge that even high school students will enjoy it.  Square puzzlers are perfect for fast finishers.  They most certainly will not be able to finish this in a flash!  In fact, the challenge is sufficient that it may take several days to solve.  To that end, I suggest that you provide box tops or cookie sheets for your students to store their puzzles-in-progress.  

For those seeking a great challenge, I have created a 4 x 4 square puzzler.  It will boggle the most brilliant brains.  Fans tell me that they put the 4 x 4 puzzler on their kitchen counters at home and found every member of their families drawn to it throughout the days it took them to solve it.

I find it fascinating to observe my students as they problem solve these puzzles.  Some will doggedly arrange and rearrange with fierce focus.  Others will beg their peers to help them.  Some will cautiously guard their progress; others will toss all of their pieces up and start over.  Each puzzle has a hint that will make solving it easier.  That is, in each puzzle there is one graphic that appears only twice.  Matching that single pair provides a guaranteed starting place.   

My students are so crazy for square puzzlers that I have created 4 sets so far.  

You can find these Square Puzzlers in my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.  Fight the downward spiral!


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