Here's the deal: you want your kids to do challenging puzzles with interesting shapes (I'm talking to >you<, pattern blocks!) but the problem is that many of these puzzles are waaaay too hard for your pre-K through 1st graders. Even a 2 piece pentomino puzzle would require sorting through 105 combinations of 15 different pentomino pieces before locating the correct pair to make the shape.
What I've done here is break down the process into three steps: the first set of puzzles practices identifying the pieces and flipping and rotating them to see that one of them is different from the others. This is a "Level 1" puzzle.
The "Level 2" puzzles involve using the two pieces that are shown at the top to be combined to make the shape at the bottom of the card. This spares the child the frustration of sorting through 105 different combinations (that's 105 "first pieces" x 104 "second pieces" ÷ 2, because the order selected is irrelevant.)
All I can say is that if I was 5 years old and I was faced with a stack of 15 pieces to choose from, I probably wouldn't make it past the first 5 or 6 combinations before throwing the pieces aside before walking away. Because the pieces are "known," the child can focus on flipping and turning them and fitting the together to complete the puzzle.
The "Level 3" puzzles are the hardest, because you don't know which of the 15 pieces you need to choose from in order to solve the puzzle. You may have some students in your class who can deal with this type of challenge, and these puzzles are for them.
Use them and enjoy!
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