I started using puzzles in my center rotations last year. I thought they would appeal to my builders, but I had no clue they would be as popular as they’ve been with my class. I’ve seen them improve my students teamwork, math, categorizing and classifying, inferencing, problem-solving, predicting and sequencing skills (to name a few), so I decided to make a puzzle center a permanent fixture in my class. It is currently part of my “I’m Done” centers that students choose when they are finished with all their regular work and centers.
I went to the nearest dollar store and loaded up on 240-500 piece puzzles. My second graders start with the 240 piece puzzles, but quickly have the stamina and problem-solving skills to solve more complicated ones. I especially love those that come two to a box (480 pieces total, 240 per puzzle) because they have all the pieces mixed up and students first have to start by sorting pieces to separate the two pictures.
The skills required to solve a puzzle are endless. I find them to be a fun and invaluable part of our daily activities. But I wanted to make sure the kids had a meaningful reflection on their puzzle work. So I created these quick assessment pieces to help kids reflect on their learning while working a puzzle. You can find the pack HERE on TPT.
Once a puzzle is solved, we glue it together with Mod Podge. Then at the end of the year we have an “auction” to see who gets to take home which puzzle. They all have their favorites, and it usually relates to the one they felt they helped with the most.
I hope you enjoy these activities. And don’t be surprised if you find yourself pulled into the puzzle fun!