By Teachers, For Teachers
Educators are continuously on the lookout for beneficial educational tools. The best kinds are ones that personalize student learning, engage students in the content at hand, and are enjoyable for all learners. Not to mention free educational tools are a huge bonus. Discovery Education Puzzle Maker meets all of these areas while being easy to use and navigate around. What exactly is Discovery Education Puzzle Maker, and how can teachers use it in the classroom?
Discovery Education Puzzle Maker is a puzzle generation tool. Teachers, students, and parents can use it to create customized puzzles for any content area. Puzzles are able to be printed and enjoyed by students in every grade level. There is an assortment of puzzle options including word searches, math puzzles, hidden messages, and many more. The versatile and customizable options make this resource fun to use in the classroom for any grade level.
There are many different ways to incorporate Discovery Education Puzzle Maker into the classroom. The following gives a quick example for grades K-5, as well as some ideas for using these puzzles in middle and high school.
The word search puzzle is a valuable puzzle for teachers to use to work on letter identification. Teachers can enter the letter of the day so it appears multiple times in the search. Students can use a highlighter to highlight every time they come across that letter in the puzzle. Working on student first names? Have students find and highlight all the letters they have in their first name.
First grade can also benefit from using the word search puzzle for practicing sight words. Users can customize the size of the word search, making simplified puzzles for some students and increasing the size of the puzzle with more difficult words for the higher achieving students. Additionally, the maze puzzle creator is a fun activity for first grade students on up that can be used when other work is completed, for indoor recess, or for choice time.
The crossword puzzle is a tool second grade teachers on up can use for reviewing vocabulary. During social studies, teachers can customize the tool to include the current unit’s vocabulary words. Students read the written definitions and remember the vocab word that matches those. This puzzle is also a great getting-to-know-you activity, where teachers can hide student names or give clues such as, “Who has a brother named Charlie?”
Hidden message puzzles are an engaging tool for third grade students. Teachers can use this to create a morning message about a special event that day that students have to decode to figure out. A cool feature about this puzzle is that Puzzlemaker uses a word filter to prevent the random creation of offensive words. With this safety feature in tack, students can create their own hidden messages that partners can unravel, and teachers can stay confident that messages are appropriate for all learners.
There are many puzzles suitable for the upper elementary grades. Not only are the hidden message, word searches, and crossword puzzles fun for these grade levels, but Discovery Puzzle Maker has some more challenging puzzles. The cryptogram puzzle allows the creator to pose a phrase that puzzle solvers have to decode. By carefully matching a letter to a number, the message will come to light. Additionally, the double puzzle uses multiple phrases that need to be unscrambled for a more challenging take. These puzzles can be as long or as short as desired, and are great for student creation as well.
The fallen phrase puzzle is a puzzle where all the letters have fallen to the bottom and became mixed up. First, students fill in any blank spaces with just one letter underneath. The puzzle progresses to two and so on from there. This puzzle is great for reviewing content, previewing a new book, or uncovering a surprise school event.
Math squares is a challenging game perfect for fifth grade on up. Using the numbers 1-9, students complete equations. Each number can only be used once. Each row and column is a math equation. Math squares is a great game that can be used in math as a warm up, as a challenge homework activity, or for early finishers.
Number blocks is one of the more challenging puzzles on Discovery Education Puzzle Maker. Students have to fill in missing integers between 0 and 9. The numbers in each row add up to the totals on the right. The columns add up to the numbers at the bottom. Diagonal lines also must add up to the totals at the right. This game is another game perfect for math class warm ups, early finishers, or as a class-wide challenge.
Discovery Education Puzzle Maker has a variety of classroom puzzles suitable for students in all grades and with a variety of skill levels. It can be used by teachers, by students, or even at home by parents. The options are limitless!
Michelle is an EdTech teacher and holds an M.A.Ed. in EdTech from Concordia University St. Paul, MN.