Petals Around the Rose is a fun and frustrating dice-based brainteaser. It makes a great activity for the first week of school in math class!
I first learned about Petals Around the Rose from Annie Forest in her blog post on 8 Ideas for the Last Minutes of Math Class. Usually, I read a post like this and find suggestions that I’m already using in my classroom.
But, Annie had several fun, fresh ideas that were completely new to me. I knew I had to try out Petals Around the Rose with my own students.
Petals Around the Rose
Figuring it Out Myself
Before I could use Petals Around the Rose with students, I had to figure it out myself!
Intrigued, I googled to find an online version to play. I clicked a button to roll the five dice. I guessed the score. I guessed correctly. Yay. 😀 I rolled the dice again. I used the same strategy to guess the score again. Nope. Wrong. Heartbroken. In my frustration, I allowed myself to get sidetracked.
Later, I mentioned the game to my boyfriend (now husband!). He played a couple of games and seemed as confused as I was. But, within an hour or so, he sent me a message saying he had figured it out.
Now, I HAD to figure it out. I’m more than kind of competitive.
It was the last day of school. And, it was only half a day at that. So, that meant quite a few students just didn’t show up at all. I convinced a couple of students that they should play this fun dice game with me. After a few turns, I finally figured it out.
My students didn’t seem quite as excited as I did, but oh well… They quickly gave up and turned their attention to their cellular devices. It was the last day of school, after all.
Shaun actually ended up using Petals Around the Rose with his own students in Australia. He wrote about his experiences here.
Online Version of Petals Around the Rose
I really like this online version because it allows you to insert a guess before showing you the score. It even keeps track of how many of your guesses were correct.
It was from this site that I learned about the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose. I decided it would be fun to make membership cards to give to my students after they figured out the puzzle. I’ll share those later in the post.
There is also an NCTM Illuminations lesson for this game that is geared towards Grades 3-5. I think it will still be a fun challenge for my high school students, though. I mean, it was a fun challenge for me as a math teacher!
Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose
Whenever I use Petals Around the Rose with my students, I make a VERY BIG deal of it.
Lloyd Borrett’s website says that the group of people who have solved Petals Around the Rose is called the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose. I love to tell my students the fun fact that Bill Gates is a member of the Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose.
To make membership feel even more special, I present each student who solves the Petals Around the Rose Puzzle with a membership card.
Students sign and date the membership card. In doing so, they pledge to never reveal the secret of petals around the rose to anyone.
Some of my students love the membership card. They even go as far as to put it in their wallet. Others think the entire thing is silly and throw them away. Either way, I think that this adds a fun element to using Petals Around the Rose in the classroom.
I also made a Fraternity of Petals Around the Rose poster to hang in my classroom. I made it to print on 11 x 17 cardstock, and I let students sign their name on it when they figure out the puzzle. I keep the same poster from year to year, and students love looking at the names of students from previous years who have solved the puzzle.
Often, students will see a certain student’s name on the poster and announce something to the class like “If so-and-so can figure it out, we can, too!”
Playing Petals Around the Rose with the Document Camera
I like to use my document camera to play Petals Around the Rose with my students.
Petals Around the Rose Downloads
I’ve uploaded all of these files as editable Publisher files and non-editable PDF files. If you want to edit them, you will need the free font, Grand Hotel.
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 email@example.com with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.
More Fun Activities for the First Week of School
- Game of Sim
- Number Contests for the First Day of School
- Circle Tic Tac Toe
- Ultimate Tic Tac Toe
- Left Center Right Dice Game
- First Day of School Activities 2021
- 40+ First Week of School Activities
- Let’s Make Squares Activity
- Getting to Know You Dice Activity
- Master Designer
- Save Fred Activity
- Ink Stain Matching Activity
- Make Six Puzzle – Number Challenge
- Lonesome Llama Activity
- Survival in the Desert Groupwork Task
- Two Buckets Puzzle