I saw a tweet by Jenny Leake that sparked my curiosity.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/JennyKLeake/status/922471305898684418 |

This curiosity led me to do a google search. I was pleasantly surprised to find David Butler's blog at the top of the search results.

From his blog post, I learned that the puzzle was from a book titled Ivan Moscovich's Super Games (affiliate link). David asked his daughter to rename the puzzle from "Bits." She chose "Panda Squares." When I told my students that the name of the puzzle was "Panda Squares," some of my students assumed that the pieces would assemble to create a panda.

Image Source: https://blogs.adelaide.edu.au/maths-learning/2016/10/19/panda-squares/ |

David kindly offers a free download of the puzzle pieces on his blog. I put out a new puzzle each week for my kids to work on during their free time, and I decided this would make the perfect puzzle.

To begin, I printed several sets of panda squares in different sizes and laminated them. I used my largest set for the puzzle table, but I printed smaller, individual puzzles for students to use by themselves later in the year.

I didn't want to have to keep explaining the rules of the puzzle, so I printed up the instructions and added a clipart panda for extra cuteness.

I did run into the problem of students misinterpreting the instructions a bit. They didn't realize that they had to use ALL of the 16 pieces. Bailey Calloway tweeted about having the same issue.

Image Source: https://twitter.com/mrscallowaymath/status/926530322321362946 |

So, to combat this misconception, I have reworded my instructions a bit for the future.

The file for the instructions I typed up can be found here. David Butler's puzzle pieces can be found here.

To spark student interest in the puzzle, I spread out the pieces across the puzzle table at the front of my room.

It took a bit of time for students to get intrigued enough to try, but soon I would glance over during free minutes of class and see things like this:

In his blog post, David Butler mentioned having students "notice and wonder" based on their various solutions to the puzzle. For my high school students, finding a single solution was enough of a challenge. Over the course of the week that this puzzle was out, I only had one pair of students find a solution.

When I took a picture of their solution, they insisted on being in it, too.

Now, it's a new week with a new puzzle, and I've already had multiple students comment that they wanted another chance with the panda squares puzzle. Guys, this is the sign of a good puzzle!

This will probably be the first puzzle of the year to make a second appearance on our puzzle table!

Could you post the smaller sized pieces as well? This is a great activity for a Math Mastery class that I teach. Thank you!

ReplyDeleteIf you change your print settings when you print it so that you print 16 per page, it should be the right size. :)

DeleteThank you!!

DeleteI love the idea of having a puzzle table in my room - do you have a list of the puzzles you have used? I know I'm motivated now, but a few weeks in I will struggle to find puzzles and probably quit. :( If I can get them all ready now I'm WAY more likely to do this!

ReplyDelete