Know that your students need practice with the math concept you just taught, but dreading passing out another worksheet? Try using a fun worksheet alternative: Jumble Math Puzzles!
Does an audible groan ripple across your room when you tell your students they will be doing practice problems? I know my students used to react this way when I handed out worksheets. Sure, worksheets can get the job done and provide your students with needed practice, but help them stay more engaged by using this fun worksheet alternative!
What are Jumble Math Puzzles?
At their heart, Jumble Math Puzzles have specific math problems that students need to complete in order to practice the concept. But, this engaging activity, takes the practice up a notch. Students aren’t done after finding the answer to the problem!
They have to use their answers to unscramble words and then figure out what all of the words have in common. Answers are simply assigned a letter. Students find their answers, record the corresponding letters and then unscramble the word.
Why I love using Jumble Puzzles
Besides the obvious reason of them being a nice change of pace from the same old worksheets, Jumble Puzzles offer many benefits for not only the students but you as well!
Firstly, this type of activity not only gives students targeted practice of the selected skill, but it also gives them immediate feedback. Since students have to use their answers to complete the second task of unscrambling a word, they are able to work out if they answered incorrectly. If the letters don’t make a word, they know they need to rework a problem. They aren’t given the answer. They have to figure it out for themselves which means more practice! Plus, you don’t have to be the one providing the answers. They can tell when it is right. Less grading for you and more practice for them. It’s a win-win.
These types of activities work great as math stations or partner work since students can help each other figure out the words and fix any issues. This allows me to differentiate for my students’ skills because each group can work on different puzzles!
Finally, If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to incorporate other skills and content areas into your curriculum. Jumble Math Puzzles are such an easy way to do this! Beyond solving specific types of problems, students practice following directions as they find clues to unscramble the words. This is a universally important skill that can benefit all students. Beyond that, this activity brings literacy into the math classroom. Something that your students don’t usually associate with one another. They have to switch back and forth between using their math skills and their decoding skills in order to complete the activity.
How to Make Your Own Jumble Math Puzzles
Want to ditch the same old worksheets and try some Jumble Math Puzzles in your classroom? Here are a few simple steps for making your own!
Start by creating a list of words that have a common association. For example: if you want the final category to be things associated with tacos, you would include words likes meat, tortillas, cheese, lettuce, and avocado. There are plenty of associated word generators such as this one that you can use to speed up this process. This is a fun way to bring different themes like holidays or seasons into the math classroom!
Next, choose the math problems that you want students to practice. Record the answers as well as some incorrect answers. Assign each answer a letter. Make sure you choose enough problems to make all of the words you want them to unscramble. One problem will equal one letter of a word. If you wanted to use “meat” as one of your words, you would need 4 problems. Each answer from the 4 problems would be a letter from “meat” either an m, e, a, or t. One other tip is to make sure you don’t assign the letters to answers in order. You want students to be able to unscramble the word once they figure out the letters!
At the bottom of the answer sheet put a line for the students to write what the unscrambled words have in common.
Don’t Have Time To Make Your Own Jumble Puzzles?
I’ve already made them for you! Over the years, I have created a variety of Jumble Puzzles for concepts ranging from slope intercept to trigonometry. Check out some of the options below!
Algebra Jumble Math Puzzles
Geometry Jumble Math Puzzles
Middle School Jumble Math Puzzles
How will you use Jumble Math Puzzles in your classroom? Let me know!
Want more engaging worksheet alternatives? Check out Self-Checking Math Games: Shade It and Grade It!