Math = Love: Factor Tree Puzzles

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Factor Tree Puzzles

Yesterday, I shared about all the amazing things I learned/experienced as part of the Tulsa Math Teachers' Circle Summer Immersion Workshop. As part of that post, I mentioned that I had created some factor tree puzzles after being inspired by the puzzles shared by Dr. Harold Reiter and the puzzle created by one of the other participants.

Factor Tree Puzzle Created by TMTC Summer Immersion Workshop Participant

These puzzles involve a factor tree in which each terminating leg of the tree represents a prime number. Each variable represents a unique digit. So, if a is equal to five, then b cannot be equal to five.

I really enjoyed solving the puzzle created by another teacher in our group, so I decided I should try my hand at creating my own puzzles. 

Here are the four puzzles I ended up creating myself. In all honesty, I created way more than four puzzles. But, many of the puzzles I created turned out to have multiple solutions or mistakes. These four puzzles have been verified by both my husband and myself to have only one solution.

I decided to place circles around the prime numbers to further clarify the puzzles. 

The difficulty level definitely increases as the puzzle number increases. Puzzle 1 is the easiest. Puzzles 2 and 3 are trickier. And, Puzzle 4 is a beast. It took two people with math degrees a very long time to verify that there was one solution. So, I would NOT recommend giving puzzle 4 to students. Unless of course, there's some logical step that makes solving it much easier than the route my husband and I ended up taking!

I have uploaded the files for these puzzles here. I hope you enjoy trying your hand at this new-to-me type of puzzle!

P.S. I'm excited to say that my first factor tree puzzle was featured in Jo Morgan's 91st Maths Gems post. If you're not following her Resourceaholic blog, you are missing out!

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