Saturday, May 6, 2017

Area Model Puzzles

I'm so excited to share this activity with you!! I've been working on it with the answer key for several hours now and I think I'm starting to go cross eyed LOL. So please check and re-check the answer key before you use just to be safe. If you do find a typo please let me know so I can fix my copy and repost new worksheet.

This resource came from an idea that Anna over at TypeAMathLand gave me on twitter after I posted my blog on how I use the box method for multiplying & factoring polynomials.

So after reading her tweet I pulled up my notes and started thinking about what she said and it made so much sense. I esspecially like how it made the connection of "area model" way more concrete for me. I had heard other teachers around the MTBOS use that terminology before but didn't quite make that connection until after Anna mentioned only finding the gcf of the first row in my box method while factoring trinomials. I was always telling them to take the gcf in both rows which would have been fine but they also had to remember to take out the same sign of the term in the bottom left row as in the gcf of the bottom row but I didn't really know why we did that. So now when we do it her way it won't be a trick to remember anymore it will just be what multiples to equal the inside. 

As I kept thinking about our conversation I remembered Sarah sharing a photo of the trinomial x puzzles she uses which help prepare students for factoring trinomials. So I used that idea and created a puzzle that will help students understand the box method "area model" for multiplying polynomials. 

If you are interested in the trinomial x puzzles I tracked down the original blog post I think by Mr. K here. The link to the worksheet is at the bottom. I'll definitely be using that worksheet to prepare for factoring trinomials. 

I also found an electronic version which I love more!! You should check out DeltaMath and search for the X game. There are 3 different levels which is awesome. You will need to create an account but I promise it is totally worth it!! Blog coming soon about this website as it is a go too practice place for my students and I love that they can even do most of the topics from their phone. 

The best part about this website is there are explainations for every problem. One of the hardest parts of my job is having enough time in a period to help every single student. I really appreciate this website because the explainations show students where they messed up and that helps avoid tons of questions that I would be asked. Now I'm able to focus on the students who really struggle or the more complex mistakes in problems. 

So if your looking for a new addition to these types of puzzles for your students here is my area model puzzle worksheets that I will be using before I teach multiplying polynomials. I can't wait to update this blog with actual photos of student work. 

If you would like to download the files you can click below:


  1. Can you post a blank "area model puzzles" template? So I can have my kiddos do more than one?

    1. I added the blank puzzle hope you get it.