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I’m excited to share with you the Big Magic Puzzle.
I love magic square puzzles, but I’ve never done much more with them in my class then give out the occasional magic square puzzle worksheet.
So, when I ran across a different-than-normal magic square puzzle in The Ultimate Clever Puzzle Book, I knew I had to make it for my classroom.
And, of course, I have to share it with you guys as well! I believe that this puzzle makes the perfect introduction of magic squares. It would make an excellent opener for a more in-depth lesson on magic squares!
The book is published by Sterling Publishing, and I’m quickly discovering that they are an excellent publisher of puzzle books! The book is out of print, but you can find used copies available on Amazon.
It’s also free to borrow from Archive.org’s Virtual Library, but you may have to wait awhile if it’s checked out since there’s only one copy and each person can keep it for a maximum of two weeks.
The big magic puzzle begins by providing students with a 3 x 3 magic square puzzle. You could easily project this magic square in your class without the text and ask your students the question posed on the printout.
Do you see why it’s called magic? If your students aren’t already familiar with magic square puzzles, this could make a great notice/wonder activity!
Then, students are provided with puzzle pieces. These pieces are actually part of a 4 x 4 magic square puzzle that has been cut apart. Students are tasked with recreating this magic square.
The Big Magic Puzzle is definitely on the easier realm when compared to a lot of the puzzles that I have posted on my blog. Secondary students should be able to solve it in a few minutes at the most.
It would be a bit more of a challenge for elementary students, but it is definitely do-able for that age level. If students need extra practice with addition or mental math in general, this puzzle could provide that in a fun manner.
I would definitely recommend solving this big magic puzzle on your own before giving it to students just so you realize the approximate time involved in solving.
A really fun follow-up to this Big Magic Puzzle would be to have students create their own magic squares and cut them apart into puzzles for their classmates to solve!
I will probably put magnets on the back of the puzzle pieces and post it on my dry erase board as a regular weekly puzzle for my high school students to tackle in their spare time.
Digital Version of Big Magic Puzzle
Tricia Stohr-Hunt has turned the big magic puzzle into a Google Slides activity for you.
Free Download of Big Magic – Magic Square Puzzle
Big Magic Magic Square Puzzle (PDF) (1057 downloads)
Big Magic Magic Square Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (314 downloads)
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 email@example.com with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
Tuesday 7th of September 2021
So in the 4x4 1-16 puzzle, when solved do the diagonals also equal the magic number? I can find a solution where the rows and columns do, but I can't get the diagonals to equal. Just wondering if I'm missing something!
Tuesday 7th of September 2021
If I understand what you're asking, yes the diagonals should also sum to the magic number.
Friday 22nd of May 2020
Love this! Would you mind if I adapted to Google slides for use in online instruction?
Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)
Saturday 23rd of May 2020
Go for it!