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Plus Times Puzzles

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.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

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.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

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.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

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

Jamboard Link

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.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

Each puzzle is a separate deck of cards in a bag.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

Each bag of cards has a puzzle card which features the numbers involved in the puzzle as well as the letter of the puzzle. The rest of the cards in the bag are designed to be moved around while solving the puzzle.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

I created tracking sheets for groups to keep track of which puzzles they have solved and which are still stumping them.

plus times puzzles erich friedman

I think when I do this with groups next year, I will hole punch the letters as groups solve the puzzles.

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not share solutions to the puzzles I feature on my website because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are not 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.

Tricia Krumbach

Monday 18th of October 2021

My kids can't get enough of these math puzzles!

Colleen Donahue

Friday 1st of October 2021

Can't wait to use these!

Sheryl Rubin

Friday 24th of September 2021

I'd like an answer key as well, please!

Sarah Carter

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

I just sent you an email, Sheryl!


Friday 24th of September 2021

These are a great resource, thank you!!

LaShan Wilson

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

Good Morning. May I please get the key to this amazing puzzle?

Sarah Carter

Thursday 16th of September 2021

Sent you an email, LaShan!