I love using shape puzzles to explore some of the principles of algebraic thinking. The examples in this blog post are from **I See Reasoning – Y4** (there are shape puzzles in all the KS2 **I See Reasoning eBooks**) and I often use these questions with older children too. I’ve found children *love* completing these questions and *love* creating their own puzzles!

**Step 1: **These questions help to uncover the key strategies for working out the value of the shapes.

**Left example: **the second line has one more circle than the first line and its total is 5 more. Therefore one circle = 5.

**Right example: **a rectangle is 2 more than a diamond. The child answering this question extended the pattern to show that three diamonds have a sum of 12 and therefore one diamond = 4.

**Step 2: **We complete shape puzzles using the thought processes from step 1. There are prompts (which can be used or can be hidden) to suggest possible starting points.

**Step 3: **Children complete different puzzles, explaining their starting points.

**Step 4: **Time for children to design their own puzzles! I specify two things: there can’t be any rows/columns that are made using only one shape; and the designer of the puzzle must be able to explain a possible starting point.

**This webpage**, designed by the brilliant Jonathan Hall, enables you to automatically generate these puzzles. And **this blog explains how I’ve introduced shape puzzles to children in Y2**. A fantastic way to explore some of the big ideas of algebra!

*For more information about Gareth Metcalfe’s ***INSET and twilight maths training click here** or for **CPD sessions about using the I See Reasoning eBooks.** My passion and expertise is in developing children’s ability to reason mathematically and building children as mathematical problem-solvers.

*Click here to join the I See Maths mailing list and receive the latest new resources to trial.*

### Like this:

Like Loading...

*Related*

## Published by garethmetcalfe

Part of a collective mission to change the nature of maths education - www.iseemaths.com
View all posts by garethmetcalfe

## One thought on “Shape Puzzles in KS2: exploring additive reasoning, laying foundations for algebra”