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Evaluating Functions Puzzle Activity

After making my Function (or Not) Puzzle to give students practice classifying relations as a function or not a function, I was eager to make a similar open middle style activity to practice a different skill. I settled on creating an evaluating functions activity that would give students practice evaluating functions and hopefully help them gain a better understanding of function notation.

evaluating functions puzzle.

I wanted to make this evaluating functions activity use the same integer cards (-4 to +4) that the previous activity used to save me time cutting and laminating.

-4 to 4 paper tiles for evaluating functions puzzle.

I posted several of my previous attempts at this evaluating functions puzzle here on my blog, but they were a bit too difficult for my students. Thankfully, Erick Lee left me some advice on how to modify my puzzle to allow for more possible solutions. I’ve removed the older versions of the evaluating functions puzzle from my blog, but if you’re super interested in seeing them for some reason, send me an email!

Evaluating Functions Puzzle

screenshot of evaluating functions puzzle.

The goal of the Evaluating Functions Puzzle is to place the integers between -4 and +4, inclusive, in the missing boxes to make each function evaluate properly.  Each number may only be used once.

The file comes with the puzzle sheet and a sheet of integer squares to cut out and give to each student.

number tiles for evaluating functions puzzle.


Friday 23rd of September 2016

I did this activity today with my kids. THey LOVED it. LOVED. Great way to review function notation. There was excellent "number talk" happening. Thanks for sharing

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Saturday 15th of October 2016

Yay! Looking forward to trying it with my kids now!


Monday 6th of June 2016

Thank you for sharing! It takes time to create any activity and I appreciate your time and effort to put it out there to share.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Sunday 31st of July 2016

You're welcome!

Math Dyal

Monday 6th of June 2016

I did a problem like this for function notation, but called it "drag and drop" to mirror the question type of our state's EOC. You have inspired me to write a blog entry about it. Check it out My problem is easier than yours but it may be a good way to scaffold up to your problem. Keep the good ideas coming! :)

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Sunday 31st of July 2016

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Erick Lee

Sunday 5th of June 2016

Hi Sarah, I actually like the first version of your problem better but I agree that is a bit challenging. I only found 6 possible solutions. You could change the functions a to allow more possible solutions. If you remove the squared in the g(x) function you can increase it to 10 possible solutions and if you change it to g(x) = __x-5 you can increase it to 18 possible solutions. Anyway, just my 2 cents worth. Thanks for the great ideas.


Sunday 31st of July 2016

Thanks for the feedback. I like the change you suggested!

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