Math = Love: Puzzle Table: Weeks 10 - 17

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Puzzle Table: Weeks 10 - 17

Now that it's March (how in the world did that happen?!?), it's time again for another puzzle table round-up post. You can check out my two previous round-ups here and here.

Not sure what I mean by a puzzle table? Inspired by Sara VanDerWerf's idea of a play table, I put out a new puzzle for my students to play with during spare class time each Monday. The puzzle stays out for the entire week to spark student interest and curiosity. Some of the puzzles I use have been purchased. Others are puzzles I downloaded and laminated for durability. Most recently, I have been finding puzzle inspiration from the Puzzle Box books (Volumes 1-3) which are published by Dover Publications (affiliate link). To prove how much I LOVE these books, seven of the eight puzzles from the last eight weeks are from this series. I highly recommend using the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon to get an idea of the awesome variety of puzzles. So many of these logic puzzles can be adapted for classroom use, so these books are perfect for math teachers.

For each puzzle, follow the underlined link to get more information and access a free downloadable file!

Week 10: Ducks and Snakes - This is a tricky puzzle. None of my students were able to solve this puzzle during the week it resided on the puzzle table. Others have posted on twitter that they had a small handful of students who were able to solve it. The goal in this puzzle is to take three duck shaped pieces and three snake shaped pieces and organize each set of shapes to make congruent shapes.

Week 11: North East South West - My students found this letter-placing puzzle much easier to solve than last week's Ducks and Snakes puzzle. The goal of this puzzle is to place the letters so that you can trace out each of the cardinal directions by moving one space horizontally, vertically, or diagonally between letters.

Week 12: Cover the Duck - This puzzle was the first in a series of puzzles on the puzzle table that use the exact same set of pieces. Quite a few people have been asking me about what puzzles would be appropriate to use with elementary students. I would recommend this puzzle as well as the camel and heart versions mentioned below for elementary level students. I will warn you that even some of my high school students found it tricky, though!

Week 13: Cover the Camel - As I mentioned above, this puzzle uses the same five pieces as the Cover the Duck puzzle. 

Week 14: The Four Seasons - After two weeks of puzzles that ask students to cover a geometric shape, we took a break and tackled another letter placing puzzle. This Four Seasons Puzzle asks students to arrange the letters so that the name of each of the four seasons can be traced out by moving horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. This puzzle follows the same rules as the North East South West Puzzle mentioned above.

Week 15: Silhouettes - A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet that featured this puzzle at a science museum. I retweeted it, asking if anyone knew where I could find a copy of the puzzle. My husband did some serious google-searching and found the puzzle online at Pam Cruz offered to print a set and mail them to me. This puzzle involves placing octagons on top of one another so that two different silhouettes of a bunny appear. My students loved playing with these octagons and seeing what shapes they could create!

Week 16: Cover the Heart - The week after Valentine's Day, we tackled this heart-shaped puzzle where the goal was to cover the heart using the five provided pieces. Remember, this puzzle uses the same pieces as Cover the Duck and Cover the Camel.

Week 17: Double Letters - This letter based puzzle that occurs throughout all three volumes of Puzzle Box caught my eye. You are given nine cards that each feature a double letter. You must find a way to lay out the cards (with overlapping allowed as long as no pair of letters is completely hidden) so that a 10-letter word is formed. My students have been working on this puzzle all week without being able to figure out. They keep insisting that it must be an obscure math or science word despite my reminding them daily that it is an everyday word.

 Hope this post helps you increase the puzzling fun in your classroom!

Don't forget to check out the puzzles tab on my blog that features links to every single puzzle that I've ever blogged about. As soon as I hit publish on this post, I'm off to update that page with my latest puzzles.


  1. Do you give hints if no one has solved the puzzle toward the end of the week, or do you save the puzzle for another week?

  2. I love the idea of puzzle tables!! I'm guessing chimpanzee on that last one. ;)

  3. Thank you for adding this quick link to your website!

  4. Oh my gosh - I don't like giving puzzles to my kiddos unless I can solve them myself, and I just managed to solve the ducks and snakes puzzle and I am over the moon excited! That's a real challenge! Thank you for sharing all of these ideas!