Square Puzzles are an exciting and engaging way for your students to practice a variety of concepts while developing their problem solving skills. How do you solve these puzzles? Think of dominoes: you simply look for a match for each side of each square. For example, if one side says "3(-5x + 7)," you look for another side that says "-15x + 21" Each puzzle is already in the correct format - all expressions match their simplified answers.
This square puzzle allows students to practice how to use the distributive property. There are 17 expressions in total that need to be simplified; a 4 square by 3 square puzzle. Here's the challenge: many expressions are very, very similar; some may distribute a negative instead of a positive. Instead of just a simple distributive property activity, this puzzle requires students to recall integer rules and take their time to distribute and make sure their signs are right.
There are several great ways to use these puzzles. We often use these puzzles as a way for students to apply their skills and practice a concept in a hands on situation rather than just giving them a handout. Students can work on this independently or with a partner. I recommend copying each puzzle onto colored paper, laminating, and then cutting it apart to give to students to solve! Once laminated, these puzzles can be reused. My students love solving these as they can self check as they go. If an answer is not found within the puzzle, they need to go back and check their work.
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