This week’s Puzzle Corner activity challenges students to rearrange the nine pieces of a paper egg to produce a number of different shapes resembling birds. Doing this will exercise students’ spatial visualization abilities while building their problem-problem solving persistence. Hatching the Egg is patterned after the “Magic Egg” puzzle that appears in the Pieter van Delft and Jack Bottermans book, Creative Puzzles of the World (Key Curriculum Press. Berkeley, CA. 1993).
This puzzle is one member of a large family of challenging, multiple-solution, dissection puzzles. Unlike the penultimate dissection puzzle, tangrams, and the vast majority of other dissection puzzles, Hatching the Egg has pieces that have rounded as well as straight edges. (The pieces of most dissection puzzles are created with straight lines only.) Just like these other puzzles, however, the individual pieces can be placed together in a number of different ways to make interesting, and recognizable, shapes. In the case of Hatching the Egg, over 50 shapes resembling birds can be created. Because this puzzle has so many possible solutions, it can be used over an extended period of time.
This activity comes on two pages. To save on copying costs, the first page includes four puzzles. To make the puzzle pieces more durable, this sheet can be run off on card stock. Students can use envelopes or self-sealing sandwich bags to store the puzzle pieces between uses. The second sheet has outlines of six of the birds that can be made. Once students successfully make one of the birds pictured, they can make a record of their solution by drawing the pieces inside the outline. In the process of playing with the puzzle, students may also discover other bird shapes that are not pictured. When this happens, they should be encouraged to make records of their creations.
Students should be encouraged to work individually on this puzzle and record their solutions as they are discovered. These records can be shared at a later date after all students have had ample time with the puzzle. It is important to caution students not to share their solutions with other students ahead of time—doing so will rob these other students of the joy of discovery.
Click on the egg and carefully cut out the pieces of one of the egg puzzles and then follow the directions below.
Use all 10 pieces of the egg puzzle to make the birds whose outlines are pictured here. When you find a solution, make a record of it. For an additional challenge, try to make some other bird shapes. Over 50 bird outlines can be made! Make a record of each of your creations.
Click the arrow below to view the solutions.