Friday Afternoon Lifesavers are exactly what they sound like: at the end of the week when you and your students are running out of gas, these activities come to the rescue. They are mathematical, engaging, fun, and give the teacher a much-needed break.
Here’s a puzzle that works anytime, but works especially well if your class is studying the Pythagorean Theorem. It will make a nice project as well for kids to make as a paper/pencil drawing or a computer project.
I first came across this at a math conference years ago. It came in the form of five pieces of plastic which could be rearranged to form one square by itself, with the other four pieces forming a square as well. The graphic above shows these five pieces. Then the directions said that it was possible to rearrange the five pieces to form another, larger square. This, of course, is a demonstration of the Pythagorean Theorem.
I’ve included a link to my puzzle file which gives a full-size ready-to-cut-out model of the puzzle. It’s sure to be a winner with your kids. You might consider making a transparency of this for an overhead projector model.