**1. Use them three times**

For topics such as linear sequences, I dig out the same Tarsia puzzle three times. For example, I would start off with a lesson on generating sequences, and get pupils to generate each sequence from the nth term rule and complete the puzzle that way. A couple of lessons down the line, after teaching finding the nth term rule, I then get the puzzle out again and get pupils to do it backwards. After a couple of weeks, I then get them to do it a third time, working in either direction, for revision. This is great for loads of topics with reverse processes, such as expanding/factorising and conversion between fractions/decimals.

**2. Differentiate them**

This is a tip from a colleague that goes a long way to making Tarsia much more accessible! Before reproducing the Tarsia puzzle, put a small dot in the centre of the "middle" pieces. This allows you to differentiate by either a) only handing out the centre of the puzzle first (thus helping those pupils who get overwhelmed by all the pieces), or b) giving them an idea of where to start with a complete puzzle.

**3. Make a poster**

Print disposable sets on paper; they make very attractive revision posters! I still have one that a group of Year 7s did in my NQT year somewhere - I got the pupils to write explanations for a few examples around the outside.

**4. Make it permanent**

Print a copy of the "Table" tab, then Tippex over the answers, or block out electronically before printing. Copy one per pupil and you have a worksheet they can record their answers on if you (or they) want a permanent copy of their work.

**5. Put a mistake in**

One mistake works well, two is OK but more than that gets a little unmanageable. Challenge pupils to complete the puzzle, then tell you where the mistakes are, and correct at the end. I've done this accidentally on purpose a couple of times when I haven't checked my answers properly before photocopying a class set.

**6. Pupils make their own**

If pupils finish a puzzle, I hand them a page of blanks, then get them to create their own resource. They love doing this, and there's the added bonus that you get a few puzzles for free!

**7. Have a competition**

Once pupils are fairly proficient with a topic, encourage mastery and quick working by challenging the class to a timed competition (great board timer here). For particularly competitive groups, "Beat the Teacher" is always a favourite.

**8. Enhance literacy skills**

Keyword matches are a great use of Tarsia puzzles. Pupils could be given words and a brief definition or example (e.g. factor / number which divides exactly with no remainder), or a gap-fill (e.g. remainder / a factor is a number which divides exactly into another number with no

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**9. To edge or not to edge**

After a few years of doing Tarsia puzzles, I'm leaning towards puzzles that don't have questions along the edges. Although problems on edges make the puzzle more complicated to solve, I think this puts a lot of pupils off - if they accidentally pick four or five edge pieces to start with, then can't find the solutions, it can get quite disheartening and you spend a lot of time dealing with "I can't find this one". It's a personal choice, but I think plain edges are better for everyone involved.

**10. Tell other departments about them!**

In most schools I've worked in so far, Tarsia puzzles seem confined to the Maths department. However, a quick Google suggests that there are some schools using them creatively in other departments; a great example is in MfL for vocabulary learning.

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