Puzzle Talks are a way to get students thinking about and solving ST Math puzzles as a group. They're a wonderful way to bring in the math practice standards as students discuss, problem solve, justify their thinking, connect the math to what they already know, and provide you with formative data.

Puzzle talks in a remote setting might be a little more challenging, but are still incredibly worthwhile. Let's see what they look like with Meagan, a first grade teacher from Ohio.

Everyone Notices a Penguin (even dads)

Using ST Math remotely with your students is a great way to focus their attention and start talking about their thinking.

Here, first graders are starting to work through the Learning Cycle* as they Notice, Predict, and start to Analyze the game Push Box.** Connect, the final step of the cycle, shows up later.

* Learning Cycle and Puzzle Talk resources and links are listed at the bottom of the page.

**Push Box can be found in the Addition and Subtraction within 10 Objective and several other addition and subtraction objectives in the early grades.

Instant Engagement

Having something on the screen that students can focus on is a great engagement tool. Using it with small groups allows everyone to talk and engage in conversation. Having some tools for students to share their answers (other than shouting them out) is a great idea. Here, Meagan asks students to use white boards and thumbs up.

Focus on Connecting

In this video, Meagan explains and then shows how she uses ST Math puzzles as pre-work. This technique allows her to build on their individual experiences playing the game for a discussion about the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Extending the Puzzle Talk

Puzzle Talks don't stop with the puzzle. Here, Meagan explains how she ends the Puzzle Talk with a question that uses what they've learned to solve a problem that they might encounter on a written test.

And Then They Get it Wrong.

Thoughts on Puzzle Talks and Remote Teaching

Teaching is hard enough without being remote. In this video, Meagan reflects on her students not "getting" the point of the lesson, using go-to in person strategies remotely, and the importance of giving yourself some grace.