## How do I build a linear equation jigsaw puzzle?

Unlike traditional “picture” jigsaw puzzles, linear equation jigsaw puzzles are largely blank. There are seldom patterns or background images to guide you as you put the pieces together. Although traditionally rectangular, some puzzles are designed to take on unexpected shapes when completed. However, these “shaped” puzzles are not usually sold with obvious clues that will allow the puzzle builder to construct the puzzle using only the goal of a particular shape. There are no short-cuts, cheat-sheets, or ways to avoid solving the equations. If you want to build the puzzle, you must first solve the equations printed on the puzzle pieces – they alone hold the keys to putting the puzzle together. If you are new to linear equation jigsaw puzzles, and need some help getting starting, read “How to Solve a Linear Equation Jigsaw Puzzle“.

## Are linear equation jigsaw puzzles only for classroom use?

Puzzles are enjoyed by everyone from grandma to your toddler. Classrooms certainly don’t have exclusive rights over them. While perfect for building class spirit and developing team work skills within the classroom environment, linear equation jigsaw puzzles are even more useful at home.

If you home school your children, integrate the puzzles in your home school lesson plan to spice up traditional algebra lessons. Parents with children who show reluctance to do their algebra homework can encourage an interest in the subject by introducing these puzzles as part of a reward system. For example, for every 3 traditional equation worksheets completed, the child could earn the opportunity to complete a linear equation jigsaw puzzle instead of a worksheet.

Does your family enjoy building puzzles together? Take it to the next level by completing a linear equation jigsaw puzzle as a family. This type of family activity helps encourage an appreciation for mathematics, and teaches children that the topics they deal with “in school” are not for exclusive use in school.

## Stop blaming the parents and teachers for students’ choices.

Peter Hilts, in his article  “Is it time to blame the students?”  addresses an issue that many educators feel uncomfortable expressing opinions on.  In this “politically correct” time that we live in, everyone is afraid to step on toes.  Responsibility is commonly shifted from one person to the next, so no-one has to feel too bad for too long.  Hilts boldly looks at that the statement “all students are all good all the time” and critically evaluates it from the perspective of the teacher.  If students are not just to acquire knowledge as they grow in years, but are also expected to “grow up“, shouldn’t they be taught to shoulder some responsibility for their learning?

If attendance, effort, and integrity are part of the problem in education, it isn’t fair to hold teachers, parents, reformers, unions, politicians, or the tooth fairy responsible,” says Hilts.  He is to be commended for making such a bold stand on a sensitive educational issue.   “Students who give partial or no effort to classwork, exams and standardized tests are mostly or exclusively responsible for their behavior.  When a student who can attend skips instead, that student is responsible.”  Certainly any education system has some disinterested teachers, or teachers who simply hate the work they do but refuse to leave it.  Every society has some parents who actively discourage the educational growth of their children, or who simply don’t care enough to encourage it.  But is it always the teachers and the parents fault when children don’t succeed at school?

As Hilts so insightfully points out, “responsibility has two faces”, and this is as true in the classroom as it is anywhere else.  When a teenage student is offered the opportunity to learn and CHOOSES not to, shouldn’t they be the ones to accept responsibility for that choice?