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Tarsia puzzles for engagement and fun

I am an old cynic – new ideas in  teaching pah! For my sins that used to be my initial view when I saw a new idea presented to me by colleague who doesn’t teach our noble subject.  But then I was introduced to this idea by an RE colleague. It must say it really grabbed me. So here is a short guide to Tarsia puzzles for engagement and fun.

Tarsias are popular in maths classrooms and teachers who are in the early years of their careers have probably already flicked on to another website because they have been using them for years. But I found them to be really motivational with difficult kids.


Basically a tarsia is a simple yet complex jigsaw puzzle that kids have to solve. They do it by having to match up sides of triangles so they correspond with another one. This building of triangles leads to them having to make some kind of shape, like a hexagon.

Sounds confusing, but I  created one on the French Revolution, which you can download here, with a difficult year 8 class the other week, and they simply loved it.  The class were essential massively mixed ability (level 3 to level 7 in English) and hadn’t had the best experience of history before I took them over.

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