A Tarsia Puzzle

Have you ever used a Tarsia puzzle to encourage mastery of any subject matter? 

These puzzles are tessellations composed of straight edged tessellating shapes, which have either questions or answers written on their sides.

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They are easy to make yourself but there is Generator software available.  But why bother with either of these options when you can simply print a Pdf with one already made for you?

How do you make a Tarsia Puzzle?

It is relatively easy to do, but time consuming. 

First, decide on the questions & their answers.  (I have created some for multiplication fact mastery.) Then create a number of tessellating shapes (I used the equilateral triangle) for mine. 

Each triangle will have questions or answers written on their sides.  The sides with corresponding questions and answers are placed together.

I found it easier to create the final shape I wanted first, then hand wrote the corresponding questions and answers on each of the triangles.

I left the 'outline' of the end result blank - this means that some of the triangles have one (or two) sides with neither a question nor an answer on them.

When this was finished (and I ensured there were no DUPLICATE answers, I then recreated my triangles on the computer!

Is there an easier way?

In fact there is, but I have not used what is available yet.  There are a number of Tarsia Puzzle Creators online, many for free.

So why did I make my own?

I found that all the questions and answers were somewhat overwhelming for my daughter - so I wanted to indicate the answers differently, so it was easy to pick these out of all the puzzle pieces.

She is also a very artistic 9 year old, and if she found after completing the first one or two puzzles, that each  would simply end up being a simple shape, she wouldn't be too inclined to continue with others. 

This is why I made different 'images' (think of Tangram Silhouettes), to add an extra surprise! 

The Quick way to get your hands on a Puzzle!

This printable Pdf has two different 'Tarsia' puzzles for you.  One results in a swan and the other in a fish!  Both of these puzzles are composed of multiplication math facts.

I do suggest printing each one on different colored paper for easy separation.  If you decide to print them on the same color - don't mix the pieces up!

Also, consider printing on card as the puzzle pieces do get handled a lot.  Or you could also laminate them.

The image of the purple triangle shown above (my first attempt at making one) I put on magnetic paper, and stuck it on our white board - it could of course also be put on the fridge door, or use a baking sheet as a 'lap top' and the magnetized ones are a great activity while travelling. 

Other Multiplication Fact Practice

I also have more traditional multiplication facts worksheets available from the math skill builders section.

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