# Maths Resource of the Week 45

Resources | Published 25 July, 2011

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#### Tarsia – Substitution a=5, b=-3, c=2

• A challenging jigsaw activity on Substitution.
• What is it? - Those of you who have used my website over the last few years will know what a huge fan of the Tarsia Jigsaw software I am. It can be used to very quickly create jigsaw and card sort activities on a whole host of mathematical topics for any age and ability level. The jigsaws can then be solved by students working on groups, racing to get their pieces into the correct order, having fruitful discussions and consolidating their understanding along the way. This particular jigsaw concerns the topic of substituting numbers into algebraic formulae, and has a nasty negative number thrown in there for good measure.
• How could it be used? - The conventional way to approach Tarsia in lessons is to have students working in small groups, armed with a pair of scissors (if, like me, you get them to do the work of cutting out the jigsaw), and leave them to solve it. This is absolutely fine for a good consolidation exercise and as an alternative to working through textbook questions. However, for a real challenge, why not make a few little adjustments to the jigsaw. For example, change three of the answers and inform the students that there a three deliberate mistakes that they have to find. Alternatively, delete three of the expressions and challenge the students to create expressions that match the three unpaired answers. A final piece of good advice I once received of Gill Hillitt is to make sure you print of the Input screen (with the answers removed) so once the jigsaw is complete, students can fill this in and have a record of their work that they can take away with them.
• How have you used this resource? - Please share your ideas below.

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