Math = Love: Crazy Eight Puzzle

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Crazy Eight Puzzle

The other day, my husband was on the lookout for blogs that shared geometry interactive notebook pages. I've never taught geometry before, so I wasn't exactly sure who all the geometry bloggers are. A quick google search led me to a blog I remember but haven't visited for years: School of Fisher. The blog hasn't been updated since December of 2013, so that's probably the reason it's been awhile since I've visited...

As I scrolled through the blog posts, I got super excited when I found a post about a paper folding puzzle that I had never seen before.

Image Source: http://schooloffisher.blogspot.com/2012/08/crazy-eight-puzzle.html
The blog post links to another post as the source, but that blog no longer exists. Thankfully, I was able to find the original inspiration post via the Internet Wayback Machine.

I printed off the puzzle, fiddled around with it a bit, and put it in my bag to take to school. With the craziness of the beginning of school, it was quickly forgotten about.

Then, the second week of school happened. I was caught unprepared by a nasty cold. This was shocking because usually my immune system holds out until at least October. I wasn't prepared to be sick in August!

So, on a Friday in August, I found myself wondering how I was going to make it through the day with this cold. I decided to give myself grace. I printed off an order of operations worksheet for my Algebra 1 students. But what could I do with my math concepts and chemistry classes? As I was looking in my bag for something else, I caught a glimpse of my Crazy 8 puzzle. Bingo! A plan!

A quick trip to the copy machine meant I had puzzles for these two classes.


I ended up teaching my Algebra 1 classes instead of handing out the worksheet I had printed, but by the time 3rd period rolled around I was exhausted. So, I passed out the Crazy 8s puzzle to my math concepts students. I walked them step-by-step through how to fold and cut the puzzle.

This class struggled for ages to figure our how to make the folds and cuts. This was not a good sign. A few kids started figuring out the solutions to some of the numbers, and I thought things were going well. Then, a student wadded their puzzle up and threw it in the trash can. Less than ten minutes into class, my students were giving up! Now, keep in mind that this is math concepts: a class for 9th graders who are not yet ready for Algebra 1.

While some students persisted, more and more students started giving up and throwing away their puzzles. This frustrated me, but my sick body didn't have the energy to argue with them.

During lunch, I started brainstorming ways to keep my chemistry class engaged the entire class period. I wrote the numbers 1-9 across the dry erase board. I told students that as they finished each puzzle, they could write their name under the corresponding number. This worked SO well with my chemistry class! It really helped my kids to be able to look up and see which numbers they had not yet completed.


We quickly learned that 1-6 were pretty easy to solve. 7 and 8. Not so much. We didn't start getting solutions to 7 and 8 until probably the last fifteen minutes of class.









My chemistry students found the puzzles to be tricky, but they didn't give up! Kids were so proud of themselves whenever they figured out a level. It was also fun to watch them accidentally solve one level when they were trying to solve another level.

This activity is a definite keeper, and it's the perfect puzzle to have in your arsenal for when you need an easy day for whatever reason. I definitely want to introduce the puzzle to my Algebra 1 students at some point during the year. You can download the file from School of Fisher.


7 comments:

  1. I wonder if the rabbit helped? I hear they are good at math- you know how they multiply!

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  2. Oh, and send your hubs to https://newellssecondarymath.blogspot.com/

    She is not teaching Geom this year, but she has a ton of good stuff from previous years on her blog. It helped me a lot last year.

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  3. Do you still need an interactive notebook for geometry?

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  4. Sarah: I got this from your blog the 1st time you posted it. I shared it with my co-Algebra 1 teacher, and we used it in class. She also used it with Algebra 2. It was such a hit that I gave it to my Dual Credit English 3 and 4 kids. They would not stop until they had found all 8! Loved it! Thanks so much for all you've share through the years--you have helped me greatly!

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  5. Google Mrs Newell math for geometry notebook stuff!

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  6. Sarah: THIS IS GREAT. Today was homecoming and we had an abbreviated schedule and I needed an activity to fill some time after we took care of some housekeeping. My juniors loved this and putting their names on the board, I think, was their favorite part. They LOVED showing off. Thanks for sharing

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