Puzzle it out

I’ve been experimenting this week with Jigsaw planet – a whizzy free web application that creates an online jigsaw in a matter of seconds out of any image you have uploaded.  You can make the puzzle as easy or hard as you like by choosing anything between 4 and 300 pieces, by varying the shape from a simple square to a normal “jigsaw” like piece or even something more complex, and by choosing to rotate the pieces or not.  There are a number of features of this tool which are particularly useful when it comes to your students completing them:

  • You can click to see a pop up smaller version of the completed image
  • A “ghost” image of the completed puzzle can be shown behind the pieces
  • There is an audible “click” each time a piece is joined to another one correctly
  • Once pieces have been joined together they can be moved “as one piece
  • It’s perfect for using with an interactive whiteboard, so great for motivating pupils and promoting pupil engagement
  • The time taken to complete a puzzle is recorded so it makes for fun team games

I first tried it with my lunch time Chinese club – a 24 piece puzzle with 4 characters on it, each with a different coloured background.  I’ve got some keen little year 7 boys who often turn up ahead of the main group so it’s useful to have something they can be getting on with whilst we wait for the others to arrive.  Once they had completed the puzzle they had to say which character was the odd one out and why (focus on radicals).  I did a similar activity with year 13s;  their puzzle was of 4 items of clothing, the odd one out being the item which takes a different measure word.

I’ve been thinking of other uses for this application and so far I have thought of:

  • Puzzle made of objectives for lesson – pupils predict and work out what these are
  • Puzzle made up of a Wordle, which in turn represents a text – pupils predict what the text is about.  Here’s an example I’ve made from the Auβenseiter song
  • Puzzle is of a series of images – pupils use the language of speculation (I think, it could be, maybe it’s….) whilst completing the puzzle and the completed image is the stimulus for a Group talk activity.
  • The puzzle is an image, which  is a stimulus to developing intercultural understanding or for discussing something culturally specific to the target language country with pupils
  • The puzzle image is a text which makes completing it a reading task

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