Two or three years ago I discovered a nifty factoring match up worksheet on Pinterest. I thought that it was pretty neat but I also wished it could be more of a puzzle. The brainstorming began. My mind drifted to two puzzle types that sometimes appear in Games Magazine. Analograms and A to Z. In A to Z there are 26 pictures and the reader has to label each one of them with one letter of the alphabet. This inevitably gets tricky –is that winter apparel a jacket, a coat, or maybe even a parka? In Analograms the reader has to supply the second half of an analogy using two words from a word bank, these also get very difficult in the same way as A to Z.
When I have given students these puzzles to play around with after a test or something they find them extremely engaging. Sometimes so much so that teachers have confiscated them in other classrooms. These were my inspiration while creating this Factoring Puzzle worksheet. If you don't aim for the stars...
In Factoring Puzzle in addition to matching up the factors (just like in the Factor Mix Up Worksheets) each factor is also assigned a word. So students need to make all the word pairs match up as well. To make the worksheet more of a puzzle I repeated factors and added decoy word pairs, for example DOG HOUSE and HOUSE CAT are two word pairs that make sense but only one of these is in the actual puzzle solution. I hope this will be fun and engaging while also helping students practice their factoring! I purposely didn't copy the problems from the Factoring Mix Up worksheets while making this version so if there are any repeated problems this is purely coincidental.
I am sure that students who are not good at factoring are going to approach the puzzle by multiplying out word pairs that they think are viable solutions and this is ok. When I notice students using this as their only strategy I will be able to intervene and give them targeted help. I think my Chinese students will also learn some additional two word phrases. Check out the puzzle below and download a copy if you want to try it out. Give me some feedback on Twitter or Pinterest if you'd like as well, that would be awesome.
Finally, here is what the factoring pieces look like. One thing not posted here (and hopefully not anywhere else online anytime soon) is a key to this puzzle the kids can work that out for themselves!