Yesterday, I posted this word find puzzle for students to tackle on my whiteboard. This puzzle has absolutely zero mathematical connections, but I think it’s still a fun one to tackle. I’m excited to see what students do with this puzzle.
The word find puzzle involves a grid of letters. You can start with any letter of your choice in the grid. But, then, you may only move to letters which are horizontally, vertically, or diagonally adjacent. And, you may not visit any letter more than once. The task is to find the longest word possible which is hidden in the grid.
Even though I typed this up and sized it to be printed on letter-sized paper, I ended up printing it as a poster print through Adobe PDF Reader. I printed it over four separate letter sized pages to make it more noticeable from anywhere in the classroom.
I taped the pages of the word find puzzle together and hung it on the dry erase board at the front of my room with magnetic clips.
Next to it, I designated a place on the dry erase board for students to write down words as they found them.
This is where things got interesting. I decided to find a few words to add to the list to whet my students’ appetites for the puzzle. I stared at the word find puzzle and stared some more and found NOTHING. Not the word nothing. I mean I didn’t find a single word. Okay. This puzzle is harder than I thought.
I shared the photo of the word find puzzle on twitter last night to see what others thought, and there are indeed some very interesting words hidden in the puzzle. I’m still not sure what the longest word is though. I will persevere at solving this myself and not cheat and look at the answer key in the back of the book!
This morning, my pre-calc students came in and instantly jumped into solving the word find puzzle as a class. One student jumped up and started making a list of words on the dry erase board as other students came up with them. Other students pulled up the dictionary on their phones to see if certain combinations did indeed spell words. They were so mad when I made them stop looking for words so we could start looking at double angle identities. I’m intentionally not attaching a photo of the words they found because I don’t want to ruin your fun!
Speaking of books, I need to give credit for the source of this puzzle. It’s from one of my favorite puzzle books, Puzzle Box, Volume 1 from Dover Publications. This is the first book in a series of three puzzle books that are edited by the Peter and Serhiy Grabarchuk. This specific puzzle is by Peter Grabarchuk.
Each volume has 300 puzzles, and I have found over a hundred puzzles between the three volumes that I would like to adapt to use in my classroom some day. If you love puzzles or if you are looking for resources to teach your students to reason logically, Puzzle Box, Volumes 1-3 are the books for you!
You can get a great taste of what types of puzzles they have to offer you and your students by looking at the free Amazon Preview! Just click the “Look Inside” button for each book. If you’re logged into Amazon, you can click “Surprise Me!” on the left side of the page. This will let you see quite a few of the puzzles inside the book for free. I typed up my first Puzzle Box puzzle from the free preview. Then, I did some more looking around and knew I had to order it!
Free Download of Word Find Puzzle
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 Word Puzzles
- Holiday Triples Puzzle
- Thanksgiving Triples Puzzle
- Halloween Triples Puzzle
- Math Triples Puzzle
- Change One Letter Puzzle from Penny Dell Puzzles
- Which Side of the Line Letters Puzzle
- Double Letters Puzzle – ACEIMRSTY
- Islands Puzzle
- Double Letters Puzzle – EILQRSU
- Double Letters Puzzle – ACLMORS
- Double Letters Puzzle – DEGIOPR
- Word Find Puzzle