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Converting Degrees and Radians Tarsia Puzzle

Provide your precalculus students with plenty of practice converting between angle measures in degrees and radians with this degrees and radians tarsia matching puzzle.

converting degrees and radians tarsia puzzle activity

I was on a mission this past school year to work on adding more creative practice activities to my precalculus course. When we started our unit on angles, I decided that converting between degrees and radians would be the perfect topic for creating a tarsia puzzle.

I did a quick google search before I started creating one, and I found that someone else had already had the same idea. I was able to download a free degrees and radians tarsia puzzle from Thinkityink on TPT.

Printing and Prepping the Activity

I printed several copies of the tarsia puzzle on colored paper and ran each set through my laminator.

I print each set on a different color of paper so that if a piece ends up on the floor I can easily figure out which bag it came out of. I learned this trick at a workshop years ago, and I have been using it with great success ever since!


drawing of laminator machine with text "laminating recommendations"

A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.

I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.

I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!

I teach three hours of precalculus each day, so I reuse the laminated activity throughout the day and keep them in my filing cabinet to use again for the next school year.

ziplock bags full of degrees and radians tarsia puzzles

If you are only using these with a single class period, I would probably skip the lamination and have students cut out and assemble their own pieces.

Puzzle Instructions

Lay all 12 pieces (8 triangles and 4 squares) out on the table.

converting degrees and radians tarsia puzzle pieces laid out on table

Choose one piece to start with. Pick one of the angle measures on the piece.

If the angle is given in radians, convert it to degrees. If the angle is given in degrees, convert it to radians.

Once you have converted the angle, find the piece with the corresponding angle printed on it. Place these two pieces on the table so that the degree measure and radian measure are touching each other along an edge.

two pieces put together in degrees radians tarsia puzzle activity

Continue converting angle measures and placing pieces until all of the pieces form an irregular decagon.

Ideas for Using in Class

I like to use this tarsia puzzle with my precalculus students after we have taken notes over converting between degrees and radians and done a few examples but before we have practiced the topic substantially.

After students build confidence at converting degrees to radians and radians to degrees with this tarsia puzzle, I like to play a few rounds of radians and degrees war. My students always get super into this card game, and they end up doing so many practice problems in the process.

Do your students need help understanding what a radian is? Check out my printable radian sectors for a helpful visual or my radian arts and crafts activity.

I’ve also used pipecleaners to teach students the concept of a radian with great success.

Creating Your Own Tarsia Puzzle Activities

This puzzle was created using the Formulator Tarsia software from Hermitech Laboratory. This is the same free software that I used to create my Evaluating Trig Functions with Exact Values Tarsia Puzzle.

The software looks quite dated, but it is free and it’s pretty easy to figure out how to work. When you download the file for this puzzle from TPT, it actually comes with an editable tarsia file if you would like to change some of the questions.

If you don’t need to type any math symbols in your tarsia puzzle, it might be worth checking out this online Tarsia Maker website.

More Ideas for Teaching Radians and Degrees