The Crazy Eight Paper Folding Puzzle may be made up of only a single sheet of paper, but it is actually eight different engaging and infuriating puzzles in one!
This paper folding puzzle ended up being a huge hit in my classroom. Students could not put it down, and I couldn’t either.
The blog post credits the puzzle to another blog called Math in the Middle.
School of Fisher describes the puzzle instructions with a fun little story: “Eight crazy families have lost each other at an amusement park and your job is to reunite them…Fold your paper all different ways until you have four boxes containing the same number. Continue folding until you have successfully matched up numbers 1-8.”
I have never actually used the amusement park story with my students. Usually, I just show them
Printing and Prepping the Puzzle
I printed off the crazy eight puzzle, fiddled around with it a bit, and put it in my bag to take to school. With the craziness of the beginning of school, it was quickly forgotten about.
Then, the second week of school happened. I was caught unprepared by a nasty cold. This was shocking because usually my immune system holds out until at least October. I wasn’t prepared to be sick in August!
So, on a Friday in August, I found myself wondering how I was going to make it through the day with this cold. I decided to give myself grace.
I printed off an order of operations worksheet for my Algebra 1 students.
But what could I do with my math concepts and chemistry classes? As I was looking in my bag for something else, I caught a glimpse of my Crazy 8 puzzle.
Bingo! A plan!
A quick trip to the copy machine meant I had paper folding puzzles printed for these two classes.
I ended up teaching my Algebra 1 classes instead of handing out the worksheet I had printed, but by the time 3rd period rolled around I was exhausted.
So, I passed out the Crazy 8s puzzle to my math concepts students.
I walked them step-by-step through how to fold and cut the puzzle. Students always find it counter-intuitive that you have to cut on the solid lines instead of the dashed lines.
This class struggled for ages to figure out how to make the folds and cuts. This was not a good sign.
A few kids started figuring out the solutions to some of the numbers, and I thought things were going well. Then, a student wadded their puzzle up and threw it in the trash can.
Less than ten minutes into class, my students were giving up! Now, keep in mind that this is math concepts: a class for 9th graders who are not yet ready for Algebra 1.
While some students persisted, more and more students started giving up and throwing away their puzzles. This frustrated me, but my sick body didn’t have the energy to argue with them.
During lunch, I started brainstorming ways to keep my chemistry class engaged with the crazy eight puzzle for the entire class period.
I wrote the numbers 1-9 across the dry erase board. I told students that as they finished each puzzle, they could write their name under the corresponding number.
This worked SO well with my chemistry class! It really helped my kids to be able to look up and see which numbers they had not yet completed.
This is especially useful because students often end up solving the puzzles out of order.
We quickly learned that 1-6 were pretty easy to solve. 7 and 8. Not so much. We didn’t start getting solutions to 7 and 8 until probably the last fifteen minutes of class.
My chemistry students found the puzzles to be tricky, but they didn’t give up! Kids were so proud of themselves whenever they figured out a level.
It was also fun to watch them accidentally solve one level when they were trying to solve another level.
This crazy eight paper folding puzzle is a definite keeper, and it’s the perfect puzzle to have in your arsenal for when you need an easy day for whatever reason.
I definitely want to introduce the puzzle to my Algebra 1 students at some point during the year.
Free Download of Crazy Eight Paper Folding Puzzle
You used to be able to download this crazy eight puzzle from School of Fisher, but the link is now broken. I have uploaded a copy below.
Want more puzzles to use with your students? Check out my puzzles page!