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I first ran across Erich Friedman’s Plus Times Puzzles back in 2019. I have featured several of Erich’s puzzles on my blog before including Arrows Puzzle, Ducks and Snakes Puzzle, Equation Rotation Puzzle, Connect the Dots, and Hidden Equation. I was super excited when I discovered that he has an entire page of puzzles online called Erich’s Puzzle Palace.
One of his puzzles that caught my eye was his Plus Times Puzzles. I bookmarked the page and jotted down a note on one of my million to do lists to create my own copy to use with my students.
In the Plus Times Puzzles, you are given a set of numbers as well as a plus sign, a times sign, and an equal sign. You must combine the digits and symbols given to form a correct mathematical equation. You may draw in parentheses, as needed.
Each Plus Times Puzzle has a unique solution.
Originally, my thought was to create baggies of cards. Students would have to work through each level of puzzle to unlock the next. Now that we’re living in the middle of a pandemic, I decided that making a digital version of this puzzle was the way to go.
Yesterday, we had a brief discussion of using Jamboard during our faculty meeting, and I decided that Jamboard would be the perfect vehicle for creating a student version of Erich Friedman’s Plus Times Puzzles.
Even though Erich has created 26 of these puzzles, I ended up using only the first fifteen puzzles in my Jamboard version. I’m not sure why Jamboard limits users to only 20 slides… The last seven puzzles that I skipped include 6 digits instead of 5.
The first slide of the Jamboard has instructions and an example. The next fifteen slides each feature a different Plus Times Puzzle.
When I use this in my class, I will attach the Jamboard to Google Classroom and force Google Classroom to make an individual copy for each student.
When this pandemic is over and I can use laminated activities with my students again, I will probably come back and make a printable version of this puzzle. I may also come back at some point and make a Google Slides version with all 26 puzzles.
Jamboard Version of Plus Times Puzzles
Printable Version of Plus Times Puzzles
UPDATE – things are returning to normal here in Oklahoma, so I have created a paper based version of the puzzles. Unlike the Jamboard version, the paper version includes all 26 of Erich Friedman’s original puzzles.
Each puzzle is a separate deck of cards in a bag.
Each bag of laminated cards has a puzzle card which features the numbers involved in the puzzle as well as the letter of the puzzle.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
A laminator is a MUST-HAVE for me as a math teacher! I spent my first six years as a teacher at a school with a broken laminator, so I had to find a way to laminate things myself.
I’ve had several laminators over the years. I currently use a Scotch laminator at home and a Swingline laminator at school.
I highly recommend splurging a bit on the actual laminator and buying the cheapest laminating pouches you can find!
The rest of the cards in the bag are designed to be moved around while solving the puzzle.
I created tracking sheets for groups to keep track of which puzzles they have solved and which are still stumping them.
I think when I do this with groups next year, I will hole punch the letters as groups solve the puzzles.
Free Download of Paper Version of Plus Times Puzzles
Plus Times Puzzles – Paper Version (PDF) (1075 downloads)
Plus Times Puzzles – Paper Version (Editable Publisher File – ZIP) (275 downloads)
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.
More Order of Operations Teaching Resources
- Fours Challenge Puzzle
- Twos Challenge
- Make 30 Puzzles
- Order of Operations Question Stack Activity
- Missing Parentheses – An Order of Operations Activity
- Order of Operations Practice Worksheet
- Plus Times Puzzles
- Chinese Order of Operations Task
- Negatives and Exponents Graphic Organizer
- Order of Operations Practice Foldable
- “One Incorrect” Order of Operations Activity
- Order of Operations Graphic Organizer with Grouping Symbols
Monday 18th of October 2021
My kids can't get enough of these math puzzles!
Friday 1st of October 2021
Can't wait to use these!
Friday 24th of September 2021
I'd like an answer key as well, please!
Tuesday 28th of September 2021
I just sent you an email, Sheryl!
Friday 24th of September 2021
These are a great resource, thank you!!
Wednesday 15th of September 2021
Good Morning. May I please get the key to this amazing puzzle?
Thursday 16th of September 2021
Sent you an email, LaShan!