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Today I would like to introduce you to the Ducks and Snakes Puzzle from Erich Friedman.
Yesterday marked the first Monday of the second semester. This meant it was time to put out a new puzzle on the puzzle table. I have a table in my classroom where I set out a different puzzle each week for students to work on between classes and when they finish their work early.
Over Christmas Break, I typed up puzzle featuring ducks and snakes from Erich Friedman in Puzzle Box, Volume 3 that caught my eye.
The goal of the ducks and snakes puzzle is to arrange the duck pieces and the snake pieces to make two congruent shapes. My initial thought was “How hard could this puzzle be?
There are only six pieces total, and I only have to put three pieces together at a time.” Well, let me tell you: this puzzle is tricky!
I decided that this would be the perfect puzzle to kick off our new semester.
It was so fun to glance up from my desk today and see students huddled around the puzzle table trying their hands at this puzzle. I don’t do anything to advertise the puzzle to students.
Yet, students still seek out the challenge on a weekly basis. It’s a beautiful thing to watch!
Free Download of Ducks and Snakes Puzzle
Ducks and Snakes Puzzle (PDF) (1127 downloads)
Ducks and Snakes Puzzle (Editable Publisher File ZIP) (322 downloads)
I want to say a special thanks to the Grabarchuk Family for sending me a free copy of Puzzle Box, Volume 3 so I can share my love of puzzles with my students.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
Saturday 7th of August 2021
I preppred this for my first day of school this year and now I am worried about using it because I cannot find a solution! Please help!
Saturday 28th of August 2021
Sending you an email!
Thursday 10th of October 2019
Thursday 22nd of March 2018
Do you have a picture of the answer?
Wednesday 10th of January 2018
Several of my students have been very determined to figure this one out, but they have not had any luck!!
Tuesday 9th of January 2018
I love the idea of a puzzle table, it's something I definitely want to incorporate into my classroom this year. My only concern is that students may be distracted by the puzzles when I want them to be focused on something else. Have you found this at all?