Spring is honestly one of my favorite times of the year. Kids know the routines, everything seems to be flowing (pretty) smoothly, and we’re wrapping up the end of each of our units in order to start preparing for the end of grade testing. I use spring math puzzles to ensure my students are getting the spiral review they need to practice skills learned earlier in the year. This blog post shows you my favorite five ways to use these puzzles in the classroom.
I love math centers and use them 3-4 times a week in my classroom. I love to put these spring math puzzles in one of my centers as a spiral review. The kiddos normally work together in partners and are able to finish several sets while also practicing several skills. I love that they are self-checking. I just print them on colored paper, laminate, cut, and I have puzzles that can be used for years again and again.
These puzzles can also be a fun learning activity. Sometimes, I let my kids play a game called “Teacher, Student” where one student is the teacher and the other student plays the student. When I do this with the spring math puzzles, each child chooses a different set of math puzzles. They color the puzzles, cut them out, and mix them up. Then, they trade puzzles with another student in the room. That student puts together the puzzles they just cut out and colored. The original student checks the second student’s work to make sure the puzzles are correct after they’ve been put back together again. My kids LOVE this and it’s so simple (not to mention it’s not any work on me at all!).
Another way I use these puzzles is for early finishers. Every year, I always have a few students that finish every task early no matter what the task is. I keep a bin of the spring math puzzles in a corner of our room and students know that if they finish their math packet early, they can go put together one of the math puzzles while they wait on everyone else to finish. It’s great for fast finishers because they can work alone if they are the only one over there or with a partner. The partner can also join them whenever they are done without feeling they are behind or left out. It’s a great quiet activity that doesn’t disturb the rest of the class either.
A lot of days, I like to start our math block with a quick whole-group math activity. Using these spring math puzzles as a short game works perfectly. Here’s how it works. I’ll give each table a different spring math puzzle and they have to work together to build it as quickly as possible. It gets the kids excited, collaborating, and practicing those skills from earlier in the year.
Finally, sometimes I use these in small groups before state testing. Each puzzle type goes over a different math skill. I’ll look at my math data to determine which students are struggling with which skills. Then, I’ll pull students to my back table to work on the skill they still need practice with. Except, instead of a worksheet, they’ll put together a puzzle for me instead on that skill. The students LOVE that it’s something different and they have no idea they’re still working on exactly what I want them to practice.
You can check out my spring math puzzles HERE!
You may also like this blog post: Summer Math Puzzles