One of the most fundamental tasks in elementary math is the practice of becoming fluent in multiplication facts without the use of a calculator. As a middle school pre-algebra and algebra teacher, I would say that the number one most critical computation skill that hinders success in the upper grades when it is missing would be knowing the basic multiplication and division facts. Fractions, decimals, solving equations, graphing, slope, etc become much more difficult when the multiplication brick wall is sitting in the way. There are so many tools in our toolboxes for assisting students with their fact fluency and Square Puzzles are another fun and engaging way for students to become fact masters. Students will match problems with solutions to create this 4x4 puzzle that is perfect for independent center work.
This activity requires NO teacher prep!!!
The Square Puzzle Quests with 1 fact contain each multiplication fact from 1 to 12 twice. The facts are written both ways (ex: 4x5 and 5x4). They are also written with an algebraic multiplication dot. It’s never too early to get rid of the ‘x’ – us Algebra teachers will thank you for it later many times over!!!
Download includes THREE versions for instant differentiation for average learners, those still struggling with their skill, and those in need of a bit of a challenge!
This self-checking activity both strengthens essential computation and pre-algebra skills and reinforces logical thinking and problem solving skills.
Students simply cut out the 16 pieces and start solving. I have my students glue their finished puzzle down onto a piece of construction paper but it could be printed on card stock, cut out, and laminated for a station activity that will last year after year, especially these multiplication facts puzzles.
The best strategy for solving is to take one center piece (no blank edges), solve one of the two problems on it, and match up its answer. Continue to build off the central puzzle matching problems and answers until its completion. Students will be tempted to just make matched pairs (which is fine) but it does seem to take longer to piece it all together when they do it that way.
Be sure to check out:
Square Puzzle Quests:
My other Square Puzzle Quests
Operations with Positive Decimals Square Puzzle QuestAdding Positive Decimals Square Puzzle QuestSubtracting Positive Decimals Square Puzzle Quest
Combining Like Terms Square Puzzle Quest - FREEBIEEvaluating Expressions with Substitution Square Puzzle QuestOrder of Operations - Positive Integers Square Puzzle Quest
Algebraic Equations & Inequalities:
1 Step Equations and Inequalities using Positive Rational Numbers Square Puzzle QuestSystems of Equations Square Puzzle Quest
Operations with Integers Square Puzzle Quest
Ratios & Proportions:
Solving Proportions Square Puzzle Quest
GCF and LCM Square Puzzle Quest
Operations with Scientific Notation Square Puzzle Quest
Long Division One Digit Divisor Square Puzzle QuestLong Division Two Digit Divisor Square Puzzle Quest
Measurement Conversions: Between US and Metric Square Puzzle Quest
REVENGE! The review game:
Equations and Inequalities Unit Review
Fun Science Activities:
Population Relationships Scavenger HuntBiomes and Succession Scavenger Hunt
More are added daily! If you have a request for a topic, please contact me. I can have it for you asap!
LICENSING TERMS: This purchase includes a license for one teacher only for personal use in their classroom. No part of this resource is to be shared with colleagues or used by an entire grade level, school, or district without purchasing the proper number of licenses. If you are a coach, principal, or district interested in transferable licenses to accommodate yearly staff changes, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COPYRIGHT TERMS: Copyright 2017 Kristine Vasher (The Math Detective). This resource may not be uploaded to the internet in any form, including classroom/personal websites or network drives, unless the site is password protected and can only be accessed by students.