These puzzles are great additions to any classroom learning algebra. Students are given the sizes of some squares and have to figure out the sizes of all the other little squares. They use that to find the value for x. The results are physically beautiful.
The easiest puzzles here are very easy - suitable for students seeing algebra for the very first time.
The toughest puzzles are quite difficult... but still only require a single variable to solve.
Templates are provided for students to create their own puzzles. Many students really enjoy challenging their parents, peers and older siblings.
The $500 challenge is open to all classrooms who enjoy the puzzle and want to spread the word by providing a story and/or photograph about how it was inspiring.
Standards for Mathematical Practice:
All MathPickle puzzles including "Mishap at Venn Zoo" are guaranteed to engage a wide spectrum of student abilities while targeting the following Standards for Mathematical Practice:
MP1 Toughen up!
This is problem solving where our students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.
MP3 Work together!
This is collaborative problem solving in which students discuss their strategies to solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.
MP6 Be precise!
This is where our students learn to communicate using precise terminology. MathPickle encourages students not only to use the precise terms of others, but to invent and rigorously define their own terms.
MP7 Be observant!
One of the things that the human brain does very well is identify pattern. We sometimes do this too well and identify patterns that don't really exist.
Common Core State Standards:
Algebra on Rectangle Puzzles target the following Common Core State Standards from grades 6-8:
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
Use variables to represent quantities in a real-world or mathematical problem, and construct simple equations and inequalities to solve problems by reasoning about the quantities.
Solve linear equations in one variable.