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Tarsia Puzzles- Things you didn’t know!
December 28, 2011

It is most likely that you have heard of Tarsia, the free jigsaw/domino/follow me creating software from hermitech laboratory (download the program here). If you haven’t yet, you really must and fortunately for all of us many teachers have contributed their tarsia puzzles to Mr Barton’s great website where a whole bundle organised by strand can be downloaded. As well as the collections on the TES collated by Mr Barton again, link here.

Things didn’t know; pictures, uses in other subjects, add anagrams etc

Making Use of the Edges

When inputting your questions and answers using the tabs 1-18 you will notice underneath the d1, d2 etc (see below).  Anything you input here will appear on the edge of the completed tarsia puzzle!

So what could you put here? Questions of which puzzles answer on the paper they’ve stuck the completed puzzle onto. Letters, one on each edge which make a word, or ask pupils to name a mathematical word beginning with each letter. You could put answers there and ask pupils to come up with questions with that answer.

Mr Barton’s site gives further ideas on the uses of these edges and other features.

Simplify!No this is not the popular TV programme the cube, but the idea is the same. In the Output and solution tab you have the options of the size of the triangles (large to normal) or the number of triangles (simplify). For example choosing simplify  in the hexagonal puzzle will reduce the puzzle to the inner 6 triangles that make the smaller hexagonal puzzle.

Pictures

I just didn’t know you could insert photos till recently! On the input bar just go to edit> insert image, then locate the image on your computer and it will insert it into the puzzle/jigsaw. This is great for graphs, such as straight line graphs, reading values from a conversion graph, identifying the median from a box plot. The only glitch is that on the transfer of the tarsia to another computer, you will need to reinsert the photos. I have gotten round this by zooming out on the input screen, taking a snap shot of that (using print screen), pasting this into word. Once in word, crop and resize to fill the page. Do this with each output page and of course the solution, save as word and convert to adobe. This can then be shared easily with colleagues. Although using this method some of the resolution maybe lost!

If you have used this software in another way please share! Check out numberloving’s co-author Laura Rees Hughes’ Tarsia collection on both the TES and Mr Barton’s website. Good work Laura!

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Sharon Derbyshire

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