# 2023 Puzzle

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Ring in the new calendar year with a fun 2023 puzzle! Can you arrange the strips in the given grid to form the digits in 2023? Available in two levels (easy and advanced), this puzzle is sure to provide a fun challenge for all those who attempt it.

One of my goals for my maternity leave has been to find something to do each day for me – something that doesn’t revolve around the endless cycle of feeding and changing the baby. Given the amount of sickness going around right now, we have been staying home as much as possible.

Thus, much of my limited amount of “me time” has been spent creating some new puzzles for my classroom since the process of creation is actually really rejuvenating and relaxing to me.

With the new year coming up, I decided to make a 2023 puzzle. While browsing through a collection of puzzles a while ago, I saw a puzzle that involved numbers written in a block style. I decided to combine that style of writing numbers with the upcoming calendar year to create this 2023 Puzzle.

Update (December 2023): I have also created a 2024 Puzzle version!

There are actually two different versions of this puzzle to choose from. More about that later in the post, though. Both versions of the puzzle use the same puzzle board.

This puzzle is designed to fit on letter-sized paper, but you could also scale it slightly to print on A4 paper if you aren’t in North America.

The top of the puzzle paper shows the year 2023 written in block digits. This is the pattern that students are trying to recreate in this 2023 puzzle.

Next, you will need to print your puzzle pieces. The easy version features 11 pieces to fit into the grid. The challenging version features 15 pieces to fit into the grid. You wouldn’t think that four extra pieces would make much of a difference, but it most definitely does!

The original version of this puzzle that I created was the challenging version. Only, I didn’t realize just how challenging it was while I was creating it.

It wasn’t until I was watching him test-solve my puzzle on our coffee table that I realized that I had made a much more difficult puzzle than I realized.

Some of the puzzle pieces are placed on the grid horizontally while others are placed vertically. Part of the fun of the challenge is figuring out what part of the grid is horizontal and what part is vertical.

In the challenging version with only single strips, it turns out there are many different places that each strip could possibly go.

Shaun was able to solve the challenging version eventually using only logic, but we both decided that it might be too hard for many students.

I went back to the drawing board and discovered that I could make the puzzle much easier by combining some of the puzzle strips into double strips. With this slight change, it means that certain pieces have a much more limited range of places on the puzzle grid that they can be placed.

This makes it much easier to use logical thinking to quickly and efficiently find a solution.

I highly recommend printing both versions and trying them out before deciding which version would be the best to use with your students. Or, you could print both versions and let students choose which version to attempt. Just be warned – the challenging version can be VERY CHALLENGING!

I printed my puzzle pieces on colorful Astrobrights paper to make them “pop,” but you could just print them on regular copy paper as well.

Looking for more 2023 puzzling fun? I have updated the yearly number challenge for 2023!

## Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at sarah@mathequalslove.net with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.