The original puzzle can be found here.
The only thing I changed was that I added a border around the outside of the puzzle.
The puzzle above is in the correct order. Obviously if you are going to have students cut out the pieces, then you have to scramble the order. I have already done that, and both versions are in The Goods. Here is what the scrambled version looks like:
I think the puzzle is too difficult if there is no border. This is because the students might factor an expression, and then not find the answer in the puzzle. The problem is that this might lead them to believe they have factored it incorrectly. I believe putting the border around the outside shortens the activity to a better length, and makes for a better overall experience.
– I recommend using having your T.A. cutout the puzzle pieces from the finished puzzle, and then putting the pieces into separate envelops. I used the scrambled version of the puzzle and had the students cutout the pieces, and I think too much time was wasted cutting out paper, rather that solving the puzzle.
– I recommend first having all the students find the puzzle piece that has the expressions x^2+5x-6 (it’s the top right piece). Have them glue it on the top right corner of the answer document (under the heading “My Factoring Puzzle’). Then have them factor it on the answer document (or separate sheet), and you do that problem on the board. Next have them search for the answer piece (x+6)(x-1) and glue that piece in the proper place. I would be doing this along with them on the document camera. Then do another problem off of one of the pieces they have glued down, so that when you finallly let them work alone, they already have three pieces glued to their paper.
– The above piece of advice is key, because I originally just told them what to do and let them do it, and I got a lot of students saying “I don’t know what to do”.