This ten-inch by ten-inch square is cut into four colorful regions. Each region represents the multiplication of (4 + 1) times (4 + 1).
The puzzle offers opportunities to explore several important mathematical ideas such as multiplication, proportional reasoning, area concepts, and place value.
Certainly the child does not need to articulate these ideas to benefit from interaction with this puzzle. Current research on enactment suggests that the exploration of concrete representations has the potential to accelerate and to deepen understanding of abstract ideas. The adults in the child’s life can ask the questions that are appropriate to the arrangements the child has created.