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Make 30 Puzzles

I’ve been having a lot of fun recently posting these Make 30 Puzzles for my students to tackle on a daily basis. The goal of these Make 30 puzzles is to arrange the digits and any of the arithmetic operations to form an expression that evaluates to 30.

Make 30 Puzzles to Help Build Number Sense.

For example, the digits 0, 2, and 6 can be arranged to form 60 / 2 = 30.

Example of Make 30 Puzzles on Dry Erase Board.

These Make 30 Puzzles are the creation of retired math professor and brilliant puzzle creator Erich Friedman. Last school year, I featured his Plus Times Puzzle here on my blog.

Instructions for Make 30 Puzzles.

This summer, I was super excited to check my email and see an email from Erich. He had saw my blog post about his plus times puzzles and decided to create a special set of puzzles especially for my classroom and my students to enjoy. That’s where these Make 30 Puzzles came from!

make 30 puzzles

How cool is this?!? A puzzle-writing celebrity made a special set of puzzles just for my classroom! Of course, I couldn’t keep them just to myself. I want your students to get in on the fun as well!

Here’s what the Make 30 Puzzles look like on Erich Friedman’s website.

Screenshot of Make 30 Puzzles from Erich Friedman's Website.
Additional Screenshot of Make 30 Puzzles from Erich Friedman's Website.

I decided to create magnets that I could put up for each day. I typed the numbers 0-9 and made enough duplicate copies of the numbers to let me put up each of the different puzzles.

Number Cards with Magnets on Back.

There are 186 different puzzles, so you could easily post a different puzzle each and every day of the school year.

Make 30 Puzzles on Dry Erase Board Next to Coordinate Plane.

I’ve decided to post my daily Make 30 puzzle under the day’s date. I just switch out the Make 30 magnets whenever I switch out my daily date magnets.

Of course, you could take the easy way out and skip the magnets altogether. Just write the day’s numbers using a dry erase marker. But, I do think the magnets make the puzzle a bit more eye-popping.

Make 30 Puzzle with 113 as digits.

The magnets also allow students to manipulate the numbers and do something like this. I had a sub the other day, and I returned to find that a mystery student had solved the puzzle.

Student Solution to Make 30 Puzzle on Dry Erase Board.

I actually typed up and printed two different sizes of numbers. The larger set of numbers has all of the digits needed to do the first 38 puzzles. I would print and use this set if you plan to just do these puzzles for a short amount of time or if you are working with younger students.

The puzzles definitely increase in difficulty as the puzzle numbers increase.

The smaller set of numbers has all of the digits needed to do all of the puzzles. They are sized smaller to save paper.

Example of Two different sizes of magnetic number cards.

I’m not sure how long I want to keep this puzzle out, so I currently only added disc magnets to the set of larger magnets.

Make 30 Puzzles on Dry Erase Board with Digits 125.

I’m currently storing the unused puzzle magnets in a plastic pouch along with a printed copy of the puzzles. Each day, I switch out the puzzle and highlight it so I can keep track of which ones I have given my students!

Printed Copy of Make 30 Puzzles with Used Puzzles Highlighted.

Puzzle Solutions

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 with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.