Math = Love: Zukei Puzzles for Practicing Geometric Vocabulary

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Zukei Puzzles for Practicing Geometric Vocabulary

This summer, I wrote five blog posts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) featuring Japanese logic puzzles that are perfect for the math classroom.  All of these puzzles are the creation of Naoki Inaba.  Inaba has posted these puzzles for free on his website, but it can be a bit hard to navigate since everything is written in Japanese.

My husband was looking for a lesson idea to use with his geometry students after they finished with their semester tests.  I suggested he give them some sort of logic puzzle to work on, and I reminded him that I had blogged about a bunch of them before!  After looking through my blog posts, he decided the Zukei puzzle fit exactly what he was looking for!  You can read my original post about Zukei puzzles here.

Here are the instructions for the Zukei puzzles on Inaba's website:

Image Source: http://inabapuzzle.com/study/zukei_q.pdf

The puzzle file from Inaba features 42 puzzles focusing on the following geometric vocabulary words: square, rectangle, isosceles triangle, isosceles right triangle, right triangle, rhombus, trapezoid, and parallelogram.  This summer, I used google translate to translate the clues for each of the 42 puzzles.  I made this google doc as a key to allow the puzzles to be used in an English speaking classroom.

To make the puzzles easier to use in our classrooms, I used the snipping tool and the google doc to make an English version of the activity.  My version ended up being six pages long.  Then, I sent the file to my husband.  He rearranged the images and labels to compress it into a four page document.

We both ended up using his compressed version with our classes right before Christmas break.  My trig students weren't the happiest about having to do work on the LAST day before Christmas break, but they survived.  It definitely stretched their brains.  For my trig kids, it had been a couple of years since they had been required to think about shapes like parallelograms and rhombuses.  So, it was a nice vocab review for them.

I also gave a set of puzzles to one of my 8th graders who is taking Algebra.  This student LOVES challenges and puzzles!  When he was struggling with the parallelograms, we started talking about how we can take what we had learned about parallel lines having the same slope in Algebra 1 and apply it to these puzzles.

These puzzles are fun.  And, they are frustrating!  We won't talk about how long I was stuck trying to figure out puzzle number 6!  In fact, I only figured it out because a student spoiled it for me!


I feel like I need to remind you once again that I did not create these puzzles.  I simply re-formatted them to make them usable in English speaking classrooms.  All of the puzzles were created by Naoki Inaba.  Here is his full page of math puzzles.



Here is what the four page file of puzzles looks like after being translated by me and arranged by my husband.




The files (both the six page and four page versions) have been uploaded here in PUB and PDF format.

Ever since I used them in class, I've been thinking about how to modify them for use in my Algebra 1 class.  I would love to have these puzzles on a coordinate grid.  Then, students would have to write the equations of the lines that went through each pair of points to form each shape.  Hmm...

17 comments:

  1. What if in the algebra version you gave the equations (like the shape) with no coordinates. Then they would have to interpret relative change in points. Two lines might let them specify the coordinates. I'll tweet a possible example to you!

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    1. Or what about using Desmos to graph the shape? Something like this perhaps: https://www.desmos.com/calculator/lielclnypn

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  2. Sarah you are a generous genius! Love this. For geom students, they can use coordinate geom to PROVE they are correct or that the square is a square etc...
    Happy Holidays to you!

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  3. One last question, what are the directions? Find the shape that is asked within the dots? Prove it?

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  4. Is there more than one solution for some of them? The way I understand it, you need to find the vertices of the required shape from the highlighted points. Is this correct?

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  5. These make fun little holiday gifts! :-) Thank you for the translations.

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  6. Thanks so much for all of your work translating and formatting the puzzles! I'm very excited to challenge my 6/7s with it!

    J

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    1. ps - there's a really nice connection between these puzzles and this websketch:
      http://www.sineofthetimes.org/a-hidden-polygons-puzzle/

      J

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  7. Thanks for compiling these, Sarah. "Practicing Geometric Vocabulary," sells these little gems short, though! It's one thing to remember that an isosceles right triangle has three sides, and an included right angle between two of those congruent sides. It requires an entirely different skill set to track down that shape in this field of dots! I wonder what that skill is called.

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  8. #6 also has another solution. If you consider the bottom left corner to be the origin, the rectangle has vertices at (2,0),(1,1),(5,2),(4,3). :-)

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    1. Actually, that's a parallelogram, not a rectangle. Check to see the slopes of the sides- they aren't opposite reciprocals.

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  9. So much fun for my grade 8 students! Thanks for taking the time to translate and post these. It's much appreciated!

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  10. Sarah- thanks SOOOO much for the translating and formatting!!!! These are awesome. A word of warning- if your students have instant access to the internet (iPads for all at my school), they will be very tempted to google Naoki Inaba and find all the puzzles and their solutions. Doesn't leave much to the imagination...
    Even though I am only giving my kids one page at a time, next year I will block out the name of the puzzles and the author before I hand out the first one. That way, they can't google it and spoil the fun. I will put Zukei and Naoki Inaba on the LAST page instead- especially since the last page is the hardest. I want to give him credit, but not give the students the cheaty path to the answers. (My kids are so darn competitive!)
    -snapdragon

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  11. Please excuse me if this question makes me sound a bit thick, but I'm not totally sure of what the instructions are. Is the user to construct the given polygon using some combination of the dots as vertices? I notice some other folks had the same confusion.

    Thanks in advance...

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    1. Yes, find the given shapes using the dots as vertices.

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  12. Would you be willing to share the answers?

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    1. Google Zukei or Naoki Inaba. You will find the puzzles and solutions.

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